Eat For Better Zzz’s: 20+ Foods to Help You Sleep Better
Do you toss and turn in your bed, unable to fall asleep? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to dreamland? Well, let me assure you that you’re not the only one who struggles with a good night’s sleep. Sleep problems affect a lot of people and the reasons behind them can be as diverse as the ones experiencing them.
We need sleep to function properly during the day. Without proper sleep, we can’t lead a happy and balanced life. It’s that time of the day when our bodies and minds rest to recover from all the stress and challenges we face in the day.
Lucky for us, nature has provided us with an arsenal of resources and remedies that can help us get better sleep, and some of them can be found in our kitchen! We underestimate the power of food and drinks we consume every day and their influence on our sleep patterns.
In this article today, we’re exploring the fascinating world of melatonin-inducing foods and foods that can help you sleep better and faster. Let’s see how our everyday food items can help us conquer our sleepless nights and wake up feeling refreshed.
Why Can’t You Sleep?
Before we explore the list of melatonin-inducing foods, let’s take a look at the reasons why you might have trouble sleeping. Sleep is an important part of our lives as it provides our bodies and minds with much-needed rest and rejuvenation. However, the reasons behind why you can’t sleep can depend on your external environment as well as your internal body clock. Some common reasons why you can’t sleep can include;
1. Sleep disorders such as insomnia. You might be experiencing signs of insomnia or other sleep disorders, making it difficult to catch a good night’s rest. Talk to a professional for an appropriate sleep disorder diagnosis.
2. Stress and anxiety. If you’re spending too much time worrying about the future or agonizing about the past, then you might find it hard to fall asleep. Even if you do, you’ll find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or being plagued by nightmares.
3. Lack of proper nutrition. Eating unhealthy foods and not maintaining a healthy diet can also make it difficult for you to sleep well. Consuming certain foods and drinks such as caffeine and alcohol, close to bedtime, can interfere with your sleep cycle.
4. Lack of physical activity. If you’re living a sedentary lifestyle with little to no physical exercise, then it can also interfere with your sleep patterns and make it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. Exercising regularly can help in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, so lack of exercise can affect your sleep hormone production as well.
5. Too much screen time. Using your digital devices close to bedtime can also affect your sleep. The blue light emitted from digital screens can disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to fall asleep or even stay asleep during the night,
If you’re struggling with sleep issues and experiencing sleep deprivation, then it is recommended you speak to your doctor for further help. Now that you’re aware of some common reasons you can’t sleep, let’s take a look at the foods to help you sleep better and faster.
20+ Foods and Drinks to Help You Sleep Better
Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Eating cherries or drinking cherry juice can promote better sleep by increasing melatonin levels in your body.
One of the fruits that help you sleep is bananas. Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium. Potassium can help relax your muscles, while magnesium can help in muscle relaxation and nerve function, contributing to better sleep.
Another food that can help you sleep better is almonds. Almonds also contain magnesium, which can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep.
When it comes to fruits that help you sleep, Kiwi is not far behind. Kiwi is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E, both of which can help improve the quality of your sleep.
More specifically, warm milk before bed is a common remedy for better sleep. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps in the production of hormones, serotonin, and melatonin, both of which help in sleep regulation.
Another food for insomnia and sleep issues can be oats. Oats can boost serotonin levels because of their complex carbohydrates. Serotonin, also known as our body’s happy hormone, is a neurotransmitter that can promote relaxation and improve your mood, helping you fall asleep more easily.
7. Valerian Tea
When it comes to beverages that help you sleep, valerian tea isn’t far behind. Valerian tea or valerian root tea is known for its sedative properties, making it easier to fall asleep. Consuming this beverage can also help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm, which can also help in better sleep.
8. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas such as chamomile tea, lavender tea, or passionflower tea all have natural compounds that can help you sleep better, calm your anxiety, and soothe your nerves. These benefits of herbal teas make them one of the best beverage choices for better sleep and relaxation.
This chickpea spread also contains tryptophan. If you often find yourself waking up hungry in the middle of the night, then it could be a sign that you’re not consuming enough calories throughout the day. To promote better sleep, you can eat hummus as part of your daytime meals.
10. Fatty Fish
Fishes like Salmon, Mackerel, and Sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, making them good foods to help you sleep better. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can improve sleep quality by reducing inflammation.
11. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, despite popular beliefs, can help in better sleep. Dark chocolate contains compounds that can boost serotonin and improve mood as well as sleep by providing building blocks for melatonin, the hormone that can help sleep and relaxation.
A spoonful of honey before bed can also promote relaxation. Taking honey can help improve the absorption of tryptophan, making it more accessible for the production of sleep-promoting neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin.
Another bedtime snack to help you sleep can include pistachios. Pistachios are a good source of protein and vitamin B6, which help with sleep regulation. Vitamin B6 can aid in the production of melatonin, your sleep hormone.
“I’m strong to the finich, ’cause I eats me spinach” As a child, Popeye The Sailor Man encouraged me to eat spinach and I’ll concede, it helped me grow stronger, but lately, I’ve realized that spinach can be one of the foods that help you sleep! Spinach is loaded with magnesium, which can help in better sleep by promoting relaxation. So, spinach anyone?
If we’re talking about fruits that help you sleep, oranges should be counted as well. Oranges, a fruit high in vitamin C, can reduce stress and anxiety. When you reduce anxiety levels, your mind can relax better, resulting in better and faster sleep.
Like spinach, broccoli is another vegetable that helps you sleep better. Broccoli is a good source of calcium, which can help regulate your sleep patterns as well as your sleep-wake cycle. Calcium helps your brain tap in tryptophan to produce melatonin.
Grapes are another fruit that contains natural melatonin. Eating grapes before bed can improve sleep quality as they enhance the body’s natural sleep-regulating processes.
18. Cottage Cheese
Another food that helps you sleep is cottage cheese, a food rich in casein protein. Eating meals that include cottage cheese can help in the steady release of amino acids, including tryptophan, throughout the night, helping you sleep better and stay asleep longer.
Too many leafy greens on this list, right? But, guess what? Lettuce, just like spinach, can help you sleep better. Lettuce contains lactucarium, an extract that helps relieve pain as well as sleep better. Eating leafy greens such as lettuce can help you calm down and aid in sleep as well.
20. Ginger Tea
To me, ginger tea has always been there to help my sore throat, but lately, I’ve come to realize that ginger tea is a beverage that aids sleep. Drinking ginger tea can not only help reduce nausea, but it can also help you sleep better by preventing gastric discomfort that might affect your sleep at night.
21. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and tryptophan amino acids that can help improve your sleep. You can consume chia seeds before meals as well to control your appetite and reduce calorie intake. Chia seeds are also known as foods that can reduce insomnia symptoms.
22. Sweet Potatoes
If you want to sleep better, then you can try to substitute your evening meals with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, magnesium, and even calcium, all of which can help in relaxation.
Figs are another fruit that is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Eating figs can also help in healthy blood circulation and muscle relaxation, resulting in a relaxing sleep.
Have a Good Night…
So, do you like this list of foods to eat for better sleep? Adding these melatonin-inducing and sleep-friendly foods to your diet can make a huge difference in your sleep patterns and cycle. Remember that it’s not just what you eat but also when you eat that factors in for a good night’s rest. Try to avoid heavy meals or spicy meals before bedtime and give at least two hours after you eat and before you sleep for relaxation.
If you’re still struggling with sleep, then you can try relaxation techniques, maintain a healthy sleep schedule, limit your screen time before bed, keep the temperature of your bedroom down, and other adjustments to get a restful sleep.
Just by making some small changes to your sleep routine, you can enhance your sleep quality, enjoy restful sleep, and wake up refreshed, ready to tackle yet another day.
I hope this list of foods that help you sleep better will help improve your sleep quality. Let me know if I missed any other foods or beverages on this list in the comments below.
Take Care and Sweet Dreams!