Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for our mood, productivity, physical health and mental health. There are many things we can do to help us doze off at night, such as exercising, meditating, and having a quality bed, such as a gel memory foam mattress. However, did you know that the food we eat is critical in helping us fall asleep? We put together our top 7 science backed foods that will help you get to sleep at night.
Who knew that our nutty friends would help us doze of at night? Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan, which is a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the ‘body clock’ hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles. Almonds are also a great way for us to get some shut-eye. They are rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep.
When you were younger your parents probably made you warm milk to get you to sleep. The truth is, any dairy product can help. Foods high in calcium help the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin.
You don’t make friends with salad – until now! Eating a meal including lettuce could help you doze off, studies say. Lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium.
Foods with a high glycemic index, such as rice, lead to a natural spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels, shortening the time it takes you to fall asleep.This is because the blood sugar and insulin increase helps tryptophan enter your brain to bring on sleep.
According to researchers, drinking herbal tea such as chamomile is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts like a mild sedative. Passionfruit tea has also been proven to make you drowsy. Harman alkaloids, which are chemicals found in high levels in the passionfruit flower, act on your nervous system to make you tired.
According to nutritionists, the natural sugar found in honey slightly raises insulin and allows tryptophan – which helps you sleep – to enter the brain more easily. Try a spoonful before bed or mixed with chamomile tea could give you a more restful sleep.
Green leafy vegetables like kale are loaded with calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin, that elusive sleep-enhancing hormone. Spinach and mustard greens are other great options as well.
Don’t wake up tired any longer. Make the most out of your days by giving your body the rest it deserves. Many foods contain naturally occurring substances that bring on sleep; keep these 7 foods close to your chest next time you’re doing your grocery shopping. Try combining some of these foods into meals or drinks for an added benefit. They are some of the best choices to help you settle down for a quality rest.