9 food ideas to help you sleep well
“Foods higher in specific nutrients can improve our ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep,” said Vandana Sheth, a California-registered nutritionist who advises clients on diet and sleep hygiene.
Below is a list of snacks and foods to consider for a good night’s sleep.
1. Berries with yogurt
Carbohydrates in berries can help increase serotonin production in the brain, while yogurt is a source of sleep-inducing tryptophan. “Yogurt is not just for breakfast, it’s also a sweet, creamy treat that many people enjoy as a nighttime snack,” said Nancy Z. Farrell Allen, a Virginia-based nutritionist and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
2. Tart cherry juice with walnuts
This snack is high in melatonin, a hormone that plays an important role in the body’s sleep-wake cycle. In the dark, the production of melatonin increases and thus contributes to a healthy sleep. Although some people who have insomnia may consider taking a melatonin supplement, tart cherries are a natural source of the hormone. In one study, those who drank tart cherry juice had higher levels of melatonin and experienced longer levels compared to a placebo group Better quality sleep. Tart cherry juice had positive effects on sleep in older adults with insomnia in another study. In addition to pistachios and almonds, walnuts are another source of melatonin and can be combined with a dash of sour cherry juice for an after-dinner snack with Sheth.
3. Chickpeas with a glass of milk
Chickpeas and milk are a source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help improve sleep. Tryptophan is converted to melatonin in the brain, as is serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation.
I like toasting chickpeas with a little olive oil and salt, which gives them a crispy texture. (Just rinse them off, pat dry, mix them with oil and spices, and then sauté them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.)
Enjoy them with a glass of warm milk for a late night snack. (Note that both cow’s milk and soy milk are sources of tryptophan.)
Kiwi is a source of antioxidants and serotonin that, according to a study in adults with insomnia, can help improve the onset, duration, and efficiency of sleep – which refers to the percentage of time actually spent sleeping in bed.
An easy way to enjoy kiwi fruit is to cut the fruit in half horizontally and scoop the pulp with a spoon.
5. Spinach salad with quinoa, avocado and pumpkin seeds
Start your dinner with a salad that contains these ingredients, which are high in magnesium, a mineral needed for normal sleep.
“Magnesium regulates the neurotransmitter melatonin and helps keep our sleep cycles in check,” said Farrell Allen.
Magnesium also works by increasing the neurotransmitter GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, in the brain, which slows down your thinking and helps you fall asleep. In fact, insufficient mineral content can lead to insomnia.
If you don’t have pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds are other good sources of magnesium, Farrell explained to Allen.
Also, add a pinch of toasted pine nuts for an extra flavor hit.
6. Bananas with peanut butter
Not only is this combination high in magnesium, but it also helps to numb blood sugar spikes and can be especially helpful for diabetics, Sheth explained.
7. High protein foods for dinner
Consider fish, eggs, and cheese for dinner as they contain the amino acid L-ornithine, Sheth explained. According to a small study, this amino acid may have the potential to reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep when it comes to fatigue.
8. Herbal tea
A cup of herbal tea can serve as a snoozeworthy drink. “Some of my clients find chamomile tea helpful as part of their sleep routine to relax and go to sleep,” Sheth said. “It’s calming, calming, and contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which can start the sleep cycle.” According to a study, passion flower tea can offer short-term sleep benefits for healthy adults with slight fluctuations in sleep quality. “It actually increases GABA levels in our brains,” Sheth said.
9. Golden milk made with turmeric
Turmeric calms your stomach, and when you add it to warm milk, it can potentially help you fall asleep faster or sleep better, Sheth explained. You can add black pepper, which improves our ability to absorb the curcumin, the light yellow compound in turmeric that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “I also like to add cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey,” Sheth said. Do you need a prescription? Try my anti-inflammatory golden milk.
These foods give you a wide variety of options and are easy to incorporate into your weekly evening routine. Try a quieter night’s sleep.
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, writer, and CNN health and nutrition contributor.