Getting sufficient sleep in a day is on its own a way of staying healthy. Hectic work and busy life has forced people to sleep lesser than the recommended hours. Lack of sleep can lead to several health problems.
In the U.S., over one-quarter of the population report of not getting sufficient sleep, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Everyone knows that drinking coffee or eating sugar before bed is a bad idea, but that occasional midnight pizza slice and beef probably isn’t helping either. 247Filla Diet team turned to nutritionists to research more about the foods that help you sleep better, and this is what we found.
Melatonin (the hormone that helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle) and serotonin (a chemical that’s a natural mood stabilizer) are two key neurotransmitters vital for falling asleep and improved quality of sleep. In order to trigger sleep and calm, Nutrition experts recommend to choose foods with melatonin, tryptophan (an essential amino acid that helps your body to create melatonin and serotonin), and Vitamin B6 (which also helps make melatonin).
No matter what you decide to eat, keep it small (aka avoid a massive bowl of Jollof Rice with your favourite TV series). Aim for no more than 200 calories, Eating too much late at night could interfere with your sleep.
Here are the top foods that help you sleep better:
Magnesium-rich almonds are a great snack to help with sleep. One ounce of almonds contains 80 milligrams of magnesium, or about 20 percent of your daily value, and research shows that magnesium helps to support sleep and muscle relaxation.
Bananas are rich in both potassium and magnesium, which can help to relax muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which helps to produce the sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin. For a “sleepytime smoothie,” we recommends blending almond milk, half a banana, frozen berries, ice cubes, and a sprinkle of flax or chia seeds until smooth.
Another important nutrient for sleep is the antioxidant lycopene, as demonstrated in recent studies, which found that people who had consumed more lycopene had less difficulty falling asleep. Grapefruits contain lycopene. As an added bonus, lycopene also helps to support heart and bone health. Tomatoes and watermelon are also rich in lycopene.
Many people turn to “sleepy teas” in the evening to help get ready for bed, and for good reason. A warm beverage, such as a non-caffeinated herbal tea like chamomile or a warm cup of milk, can help relax and soothe your mind and body in the evenings, preparing you for sleep. Any herbal tea will contain ingredients—such as chamomile, lavender, and peppermint—that help promote sound sleep.
For a good night’s sleep, try vitamin B6–rich salmon. Research supports the link between fish and better sleep. A recent study that found individuals who consumed Atlantic salmon three times per week reported better sleep and overall daily functioning.
These sweet berries offer a natural source of melatonin.
Red tomatoes offer that sleep-inducing super hormone melatonin. Experts suggests doubling up the melatonin by drizzling cherry or grape tomatoes with olive oil, which also provides melatonin.
Like salmon, tuna is a fish that can help with sleep. It not only contains vitamin B6 to assist in the production of melatonin but it also contains selenium. Those deficient in this important antioxidant may have more difficulty falling asleep.
Another tryptophan-rich food is turkey. This helps with a good sleep.
An evening glass of wine isn’t that bad! Some red wines, such as the Italian reds Nebbiolo and Croatina, offer high amounts of melatonin. I would rather recommend taking the non-alcoholic red wine.
A recent study shows that jasmine rice might be a better choice for the evening meal than grains with a lower glycemic index when it comes to helping people fall asleep. A jasmine rice stir-fry for an easy one-pot meal that will also help you to wind down for bed.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse: high in fiber, they’re also low in saturated fat and a good source of vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as potassium and manganese. So it’s not surprising they’re a good sleep aid. Not only will the carbohydrates in sweet potatoes help produce serotonin, but they also contain the minerals magnesium and zinc, two micronutrients that work synergistically in creating melatonin.
Although melatonin is the key ingredient in sleep aid, magnesium is also important. Magnesium deficiency could prevent you from being able to relax at night and get into that sleepy mood. Spinach is an everyday super-food rich in this relaxing mineral. Try it in a simple salad, blend it into a smoothie, or as a side dish.
Another super-food, walnuts are packed with sleep-strengthening nutrients. Not only do walnuts have super healthful types of unsaturated fats such as omega-3s, but they are also rich in melatonin and have been shown to increase circulating levels of melatonin in the body
Sunflower seeds might be the perfect bird food, but they’re also a good bedtime snack. In addition to containing tryptophan, the seeds also offer filling fiber and healthy fats, which will help to curb your hunger longer. Try adding a spoonful of sunflower seed butter to an evening smoothie, or sprinkle the nuts onto low-fat Greek yogurt
Now that we have shown you the foods that will help you in enjoying a sufficient sleep, stick to them like glue to enjoy a good sleep for a healthy life. Don’t forget to share with your friends and family.