Nutrition can affect everything from energy levels to disease prevention to stress relief. Food choices also have the power to encourage or discourage a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, numerous studies have shown people who are sleep deprived are more likely to eat unhealthy, high-calorie foods. To break this vicious cycle, you’ll need to rethink your eating habits from morning until night.
To help give you a head start, here are seven foods that can help you settle in for a full night’s sleep.
Grab some fresh cherries or a glass of cherry juice before bed, and you can start catching Zs in no time. Researchers have found drinking tart cherry juice right before bed helps you fall asleep. Some studies suggest it is more effective than taking melatonin supplements.
A glass of warm milk before bed has long been thought of as the ultimate sleep remedy. Since calcium promotes relaxation and has a calming effect on the body’s nervous system, try drinking milk or a non-dairy milk substitute that’s calcium-fortified before you start your nighttime routine.
Research has suggested the omega-3 fatty acids in fish such as salmon, halibut, and anchovies can enhance your brain’s secretion of melatonin. The presence of vitamin B6 in many types of fish is also thought to be helpful. Everyday Health recommends a 3-ounce serving of fish at least two times per week to aid in restful sleep.
4. Jasmine rice
A small dinner or bedtime snack rich in complex carbohydrates can be beneficial for sleep, and jasmine rice offers unique benefits. A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when participants ate high-glycemic-index jasmine rice with dinner instead of lower-GI long-grain rice, they fell asleep faster. Researchers speculate high-GI meals may boost tryptophan.
A well-rounded sleep-promoting food, bananas are a great source of both magnesium and potassium, which act as natural muscle-relaxants. It’s easy to incorporate bananas into a bedtime snack, such as a smoothie or a small bowl of oatmeal. Bananas also contain vitamin B6 and copper.
Oysters contain a sleep-inducing mixture of zinc, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B11. According to Livestrong.com, oysters are the best food source of magnesium and zinc. A 3-ounce portion of cooked oysters provides 19% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium and well over 1,000% of your RDA of zinc
7. Herbal tea
The calming ritual involved in brewing and sipping a cup of hot tea is relaxing in itself. On top of that, chamomile tea is thought to act as a mild sedative, encouraging relaxation and relief from anxiety. Some studies have shown Valerian tea can encourage sleep and even improve sleep quality.