Many people follow a fairly consistent routine of waking up, going to work, going home, eating dinner, watching television, and going to sleep. This pattern repeats Monday through Friday, then on the weekends, things change a little. No matter the pattern or day of the week, however, the ending is always sleeping. Some days it is easier to go to sleep than others, and if you are one of the many who struggle to go to sleep, then giving these foods a try before bed might help lull you into that much-needed slumber.
There are two substances found in almonds that can impact sleep, and they are melatonin and magnesium. If you struggle with falling asleep, you’ve probably heard of melatonin. A pill version of it can be found at the local drug store, and usually, the label has zzz’s or sleep-like photos on the front to show that it helps with natural sleep. Magnesium might be a new one, though. Its link to sleep has to do with its anti-inflammatory capabilities, according to some researchers. It is also believed to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which is a sleep interrupter among other things. An ounce or handful of almonds before bed is all you would need to test the theory that almonds help with sleep.
Ever noticed that food coma induced by the great holiday Thanksgiving? The turkey might have something to do with that. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of melatonin. Remember melatonin from the almond example? It’s a hormone the body creates that is closely linked with better less interrupted sleep. Another feature of turkey is its protein, and consuming moderate amounts of protein before bed has shown researchers that it leads to better sleep quality and fewer nighttime wakeups.
Researchers conducted a study where participants were charged with eating two medium sized kiwis an hour before bedtime. The focus group of the experiment ate nothing before bedtime. Results showed that eating the kiwi fruit lulled participants to sleep faster and kept them asleep longer with no interruptions than not eating anything. The sleep-inducing powers of the kiwi are believed to be the result of its serotonin content, which is a brain chemical that regulates your sleep cycle. Kiwi is also full of antioxidants that reduce inflammation, which is believed to be linked to better sleep as well.
Additional foods that contain tryptophan, the amino acid that increases melatonin, are milk, bananas, dates, oats, eggs, and crabmeat to name a few. And, examples of foods that already contain melatonin are green tea, black olives, cucumbers, red grapes, strawberries, red wine, and broccoli.
There are many natural options available if you struggle with falling asleep and/or staying asleep, and eating some of these sleep-inducing foods an hour before bedtime is an easy method to try before resulting to stimulants. Keep yourself happy and healthy by eating healthy foods and getting enough rest to perform at your best throughout the day.