If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you may rethink your diet to fight insomnia. While getting to the root cause of your sleeping problems is the best way to treat* insomnia in the long run, you could also get some shut eye with the help of sleep-promoting foods.
Sleep is a complex process triggered by both external and internal factors. Well, some of these internal factors can be influenced by eating the right kind of foods. In case you were wondering what foods you should be eating to finally get some rest, here are some suggestions.
1. Whole Grains
Breads, oatmeal and cereal with whole grains are complex carbohydrates that help in increasing serotonin production. Serotonin is basically a neurotransmitter in our bodies which slows down nerve activity, calms the brain and lets your entire body relax. When you go to sleep after having these complex carbs, the darkness helps convert serotonin to melatonin which regulates sleep.
Bananas are one of the more well known sleep aiding foods. Aside from tasting great and being full of fibre, bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium, which both act as muscle relaxants. When your muscles are relaxed, you are able to let go of stress more easily and drift into a deeper sleep.
Bananas also contain Vitamin B6, an important micronutrient that aids in the body’s production of serotonin, a precursor to the other sleep hormone melatonin.
Wild-caught salmon is rich in omega-3s and vitamin B6 which can relieve stress and help you relax. The vitamin B6 will boost the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) in your body, which will help you fall asleep easier. According to a recent study, people who consume salmon regularly have higher vitamin D levels and sleep much better than the rest of us.
4. Cherry Juice
Cherries are a rich source of phytochemicals, particularly melatonin which is an important neurotransmitter helping regulate sleep. Drinking cherry juice before bedtime may increase* the levels of melatonin in your blood and make you feel sleepy. This was confirmed in one study that measured the urinary levels of melatonin in those who drank cherry juice in comparison to those who did not. The juice in this particular study was taken from the Tart Montmorency cherries which are especially rich in melatonin.
Dairy products like yogurt and milk boast healthy doses of calcium—and there’s research that suggests being calcium-deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.
A cup of hot cocoa before going to bed will relax your mind and provide your body with enough magnesium that will significantly improve your sleep. Furthermore, cocoa contains tryptophan which can easily make you fall asleep.
7. Herbal tea
Herbal teas are another useful remedy for insomnia. They can help you to distress and develop a sense of calm. Jo Lewin, Nutritional Therapist explains:
Herbal teas, such as chamomile, passion flower tea and valerian, have a mild sedative effect.
Chamomile in particular is one of the most popular. As well as being a relaxant, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with any joint aches and back pain, which may encourage you to a more restful state.