Besides keeping your immune system strong and your skin looking good, healthy sleep makes you feel better. What you eat effects how you sleep. If you eat foods that calm your body down, you’ll sleep more soundly. Trouble sleeping? Here are 10 powerful foods that will help you fall and stay asleep!
Besides being rich in potassium, bananas also have Vitamin B6, necessary for making melatonin. A banana and soy milk smoothie is a healthy, relaxing dessert—sprinkle a little cinnamon on top instead of sugar.
2. Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is rich in melatonin, a hormone that induces relaxation. But stay clear of juices with artificial flavors and lots of added sugar—these extra ingredients have empty calories and may actually stimulate your brain.
Vitamin B6 is required for making melatonin. Many fish contain vitamin B6—halibut, salmon, tuna, flounder—and they also keep your heart happy, as they’re low in saturated fats and rich in healthy oils.
4. Fortified Cereals
Another good source of vitamin B6, fortified cereals are easy to eat—all you have to do is pour them into a bowl and add milk. Vitamin B6 helps make melatonin, and you can also ingest it in a vitamin pill; however, it’s better for the body’s long-term health to get the nutrients directly from the food source.
5. Fresh Herbs
Certain fresh herbs (basil, sage, cardamom) calm the body. Others, like red or black pepper, are gentle stimulants. You can make pasta sauce at home with sage and basil pretty easily; not only will you save money over store-bought sauces, but you’ll enjoy the relaxing benefits of these fresh herbs.
6. Herbal Tea And Other Beverages
If you sip chamomile tea before bed, you’ll stand a better chance of getting sleepy than if you chug an espresso. Warm milk is another great choice for a relaxing night cap. Avoid caffeine in any quantity.
7. Jasmine Rice
Jasmine rice helps people fall asleep much faster than long-grain rice. Jasmine rice is a high-glycemic-index (GI) food, while long-grain rice is lower-GI; it’s thought that the greater levels of insulin triggered by a high-GI meal upped levels of the amino acid tryptophan in the bloodstream, letting it into the brain. Tryptophan is a great sleep-inducer; you’ll also find it in milk.
A leafy green, it’s rich in calcium and folic acid—both of which promote good sleep. You can gently steam kale (too much cooking drains out the nutrients) or drizzle some lemon juice on it and it eat it with red onion, for a potent salad.
9. Whole Grains
Magnesium is often overlooked, but it’s an important mineral for consistent brain functioning. Ingesting insufficient magnesium makes it harder to stay asleep. Whole grains contain lots of magnesium; barley, bulgur, and flax are good grains to start with.
Calcium strengthens bones, and it also relates to healthy sleep patterns; research suggests calcium deficiency makes it difficult to fall asleep. Dairy products have lots of calcium; yogurt, milk, and cottage cheese are all good bets for late-night calcium boosts.