Studies show that insomnia is on the rise. People seem to be getting fewer hours of sleep, and the sleep they do get seems to be of a poorer quality. This is partly due to stress, the use of blue-light emitting electronics, and a bad diet. But did you know you can eat your way to a better snooze? Here are the top five foods you can eat for better sleep!
Ever notice how tired you feel after Thanksgiving dinner? Well, besides for the fact that you might have overindulged, it’s probably because of the tryptophan in turkey meat. Tryptophan is an amino acid that increases your body’s serotonin, which in turn increases melatonin – a hormone that helps you sleep. Due to the combination of tryptophan and protein, it is a good idea to eat turkey or chicken for dinner. But choose lean cuts, as high fat foods will keep the sleep away!
Bananas are amazing fruits. They are healthy, good for digestion, and as it turns out, they’re good for making you sleepy too! They contain high amounts of magnesium and potassium, two minerals that relaxes the muscles. Bananas actually contain melatonin as well, which make them the ideal night-time snack. Try chopped bananas with low-fat yoghurt, for a bite before bedtime.
Milk is an age-old cure for sleeplessness. Milk makes you sleep better for a number of reasons. It’s high in protein (which will make you sleep better), but it also helps your body to produce more tryptophan. Nutritionists say that there is also the psychological effect that milk has on us. Because many of us associate a warm glass of milk with the evening, our brains automatically start preparing us for bedtime, making falling asleep easier.
Chamomile tea is technically not a tea, as it does not come from the Camellia sinensis plant. It’s more of a herbal infusion. The good news is that it is caffeine free and is proven to have a calming and relaxing effect on those who drink it. This is because it contains apigenin, an antioxidant that promotes the feeling of sleepiness. It’s best to create a bedtime routine and drink your cup of tea at approximately the same time each evening. This will help your body to ‘switch off’ and get ready for bed.
Complex carbohydrates (brown rice, potatoes, and corn) are known to be good for sleep. Firstly, they work together with proteins to make tryptophan more available to the body. Secondly, the higher glycemic index (GI) is better for inducing sleep, and could possibly increase the amount of sleep as well.