Getting a good night’s sleep is as important as charging your phone’s battery. Just like without a recharge, your phone doesn’t function, your body also doesn’t work to its optimal when it is sleep deprived. Many of us fail to catch the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, either because we find it difficult to fall asleep or wake up smack in the middle of the night, unable to return to the land of dreams again. This is where sleep-inducing foods come into the picture.
Lots of people rely on sleeping aid to get their necessary bit of shut-eye. This is evident with the fact that Americans spent $41 billion on sleeping aids last year. Not so surprisingly, reports forecast the figure to jump to $52 billion by 2020. Sleep-inducing food, however, provides a natural alternative to these pills. There is a wide variety of foods that can be taken to summon sleep and prevent the little breaks that punctuate your sleep to disrupt it.
Here is a look at the most popular foods that help to catch some peaceful zzz:
Kiwi is a good pre-bed snack. It can help you sleep peacefully throughout the need without having to wake up in the middle. Research backs this as well. A study conducted by the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan found that the green fruit allowed its pool of participants to sleep for an extra hour. The vitamin C and E, folate, and serotonin in the fruit hold the champion title of sleep-inducing elements.
Sweet Potato Toast
Sweet potato toast is another worthy late-night bite to catch up with your disrupted sleep. Swap the traditional baked sweet potatoes for nighttime toast. You can also take it as your late night supper or after-dinner treat by drizzling some honey on it with a pinch of sea salt. In this regard, Jaclyn London, R.D., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute advises, “Sweet potatoes are great sources of potassium, magnesium and calcium to help you relax.”
Not only are almonds applauded for improving brain health but they make it to this list as well. Almonds are enriched with magnesium, a mineral that is essential for good quality sleep. A study also confirms this. It dug out that low levels of magnesium in the body make it harder for a person to stay asleep.
An article in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences appreciates the role of fish in encouraging a good night’s sleep. Although most fishes are good at it, halibut, tuna, and salmon are particularly attributed to playing a good role in promoting sleep. These are rich sources of vitamin B6, which is needed for the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
Apart from being a good source of potassium, bananas are rich in vitamin B6. As mentioned above, vitamin B6 is an important component for the production of melatonin, the sleep regulator of the body. You can simply sip on a banana shake to get your dose of the vitamin, and subsequently some good sleep.
So far, you might have heard that fiber is crucial for encouraging smooth digestion. However, that’s not all. Fiber is also known as an effective key for good sleep. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that consuming fiber was correlated with better sleep. This is because fiber prevents a soaring level of blood sugar that lowers melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone. You can get your dose of fiber from beans, broccoli, peas, artichokes, lentils.
Tart Cherry Juice
Cherries alongside its cousin berries are highly famous for their powerful punches of antioxidants that fight free radical damage. From the specific perspective promoting sleep, tart cherry juice has a significant role to play. A small study proves it too. It indicated that drinking a cup of tart cherry juice twice in a day helped to relief insomnia among adults.
Chamomile tea boasts numerous health benefits. The herbal tea not only improves sleep but also strengthens the immune system, improves skin health, and reduces depression and anxiety. Chamomile tea includes apigenin, which is an antioxidant that binds to some brain receptors that discourage insomnia. A study highlights that its participants who took 270 mg of chamomile extract two times in a day for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster than their usual. They also did not complain about waking up in the middle of the night too.
Pistachios are another important food source for inducing sleep. These are packed with protein, magnesium, and vitamin B6. All these contribute improved sleep. Jaclyn London, R.D., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute explains in this regard, “Don’t exceed a 1-ounce portion of nuts,” London warns. “Anything too high in calories can have the reverse effect of keeping you awake!”
While you’re getting almonds and pistachios for peaceful forty winks, you can also get some walnuts. This is another dry fruit that is sleep-favorable. The fatty acid content of walnuts is helpful in inducing sleep. This dry fruit provides an omega-3 called ALA that is converted to DHA in the body. This, in turn, boosts the serotonin production, the chemical that enhances sleep. Walnuts also play a significant role in enhanced heart health alongside numerous other health benefits.
Lettuce also ranks among sleep-inducing foods. It contains lactucarium that boosts sedative properties. It also affects the brain in a similar way as that of opium. You can include lettuce as part and parcel of your dinner salad to fall asleep earlier than your regular. A lettuce brew that is popular in this context requires you to simmer 3-4 large lettuce leaves in a cup of water. Continue for 15 minutes then remove from heat and add some mint. Sip this before bed to fall into the arms of Morpheus easily.
Like magnesium, studies also show that a drop in the body’s calcium levels correspond with difficulty to having a kip. Dairy products such as yogurt and milk are powerful sources of calcium, therefore, they play a positive role in promoting sleep.
This green veggie also aids in getting a good catnap. The leafy vegetable is a good dose of calcium that assists the brain in using tryptophan. Tryptophan, in turn, produces melatonin. To add variety to your green leafy option of good sleep, you can add mustard greens and spinach to your meal plan.
Honey also plays a role here in addition to its other amazing beauty benefits. The natural sugar in honey minutely raises insulin. At the same time, the natural sugars allow tryptophan to enter the brain, which encourages sleep. You can directly take a spoon of honey before your bedtime or mix it in chamomile tea for a restful sleep.
In addition to being known for calming anxiety, passionflower tea is another herbal tea, which is considered useful among sleep-inducing foods. The herbal tea is known for promoting sleepiness even though extensive research is yet to fully back it. A study that extended over 7 days found that the participants who drank the passion flower tea were able to nap well. They rated their quality of sleep as significantly improved.
White rice also aids in a good night’s sleep. The food staple has a fairly decent amount of minerals and vitamins. Since white rice is high in the carbs content, it chips in a higher glycemic index. This is a pointer that narrates how fast the food increases blood sugar with research suggesting that consuming high glycemic index-boasting foods assist in cutting down sleeplessness. A study of 1,848 people compared the consumption of bread, noodles, and rice in welcoming sleep. It concluded that higher rice intake was linked with longer sleep duration and better sleep.
This is another item on the sleep-inducing foods chart. Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC says, “Grains in oatmeal trigger insulin production much like whole-grain bread. They raise your blood sugar naturally and make you feel sleepy. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep.”
Chickpeas that are at the heart of hummus are a rich source of tryptophan. Thus, pairing hummus and whole-grain crackers helps you to slumber well. The former helps to deliver tryptophan and the latter allows tryptophan to reach the brain.
In a nutshell, you can choose any of these foods for your beauty sleep. Sleeplessness is nothing to be compromised with, as it does not lead to only yawns but several health concerns. These include increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, and more. In fact, drowsy driving leads to 100, 000 accidents, 1550 fatalities and 40,000 non-fatal injuries every year in the US. Now that you know that a disturbed sleep is not linked to yawning and fatigue only, it is better to take the necessary measures to get good sleep. These sleep-inducing foods can help you with in this regard.