6 Must-Have Foods That Can Help You Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep
Struggling to get some shut-eye? In need of forty winks? Don’t panic – we’re here to help. If you’re having trouble falling asleep (and staying asleep!), what you eat could be playing a bigger role than you might think. Lack of sleep can make you grouchy, unable to concentrate, and might lead to a decline in productivity at work. However, making a few changes to your diet can quickly rectify the problem and provide you with the good night’s sleep you’ve been craving. Here are six of the best foods that help you sleep.
Yep, you’ve probably heard this one before, but research suggests it’s really true. Drinking a glass of warm milk before you hit the hay can help you sleep better. But, why? Well, dairy products like milk are jam-packed with an amino acid called tryptophan, which can help you get a good night’s sleep. In particular, tryptophan helps to increase melatonin and serotonin in the brain – two chemicals which can provide us with a relaxing feeling. So, next time you’re struggling to sleep, steer well clear of caffeinated sodas or juice, and opt for warm milk instead.
If you thought cereal was just for the morning, think again! Studies have shown that a bowl of your favorite cereal, or even a few oatcakes, can have a positive impact on the body if you are trying to get to sleep. You should eat a carbohydrate-rich snack like this about an hour before you get into bed in order to increase the amount of insulin in the body. Here’s the scientific part: insulin can help to get rid of the amino acids that might block or prevent tryptophan from entering the bloodstream. The result? More tryptophan can enter the brain, leading to more Zzzzz….
3. Tuna sandwich
Yes, a simple tuna sandwich can really help you to get to sleep. That’s because tuna contains plenty of tryptophan (the amino acid we talked about earlier). Couple that with the carbs found in a slice of wholemeal bread (carbs can increase tryptophan intake in the brain), and you’re onto a winner. Aside from its sleep-inducing properties, tuna has a plethora of other health benefits, and should be something that you eat more of on a regular basis. First up, it’s low in fat, making it the perfect companion if you are trying to lose weight or improve your general health. It’s also rich in protein, which can help to increase lean muscle mass. Give it a try!
Spinach may not be to everyone’s taste, but it could definitely help you if are struggling to get to sleep every night. That’s because it’s rich in magnesium, which can work together with calcium to relax the muscles and promote a feeling of wellbeing. If you’re stressed out after a long day at work, or have something on your mind, spinach can help you to relax and promote natural sleep. What’s more, spinach can help you to stay asleep and not wake up during the night. So, if you’re serious about your sleep, add spinach to your shopping list.
5. Leafy greens
What do broccoli, asparagus, and celery all have in common? Well, apart from being green, they contain loads of calcium – one of the most important minerals that your body needs to function properly on a daily basis. Calcium can help the brain to manufacture more of the substance melatonin – beneficial in helping you get to sleep – and studies show that consuming a nutritious snack comprising of leafy greens about an hour before bedtime could prove to be advantageous for insomnia. As well as helping you to get more slumber, these vegetables are low in fat and can decrease your chances of developing life-threatening illnesses such as stroke and heart disease.
6. Chamomile tea
A mug of warm, delicious chamomile tea can also help you to sleep. Although there isn’t a lot of research that suggests chamomile (or any tea for that matter) can have a sedative effect on the body, many people find a cup of tea before bedtime to be extremely relaxing – and that can only be a good thing. You will be able to dry out chamomile flowers yourself and brew your tea, or pop to the store to purchase already-made tea (be careful to choose a brand that’s caffeine-free!).