By: -DT.Manoli Mehta
Getting good sleep is incredibly important for your overall health and is closely related to food you eat.
It may reduce your risk of developing certain chronic illnesses, keep your brain and digestion healthy and boost your immune. It’s generally recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, though many people struggle to get enough. There are many strategies you can use to promote good sleep, including making changes to your diet, as some foods have sleep-promoting properties.
Eating and drinking for better sleep means more than just avoiding caffeine and heavy, heartburn-inducing foods at night. Certain foods and beverages could actually help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Here are Foods to put on your grocery list for sound Sleep.
1. Complex Carbs
Skip the white bread, refined pasta, and sugary, baked goods, which may reduce serotonin levels and impair sleep. Instead, choose stick-to-your-ribs whole grains for your bedtime snack: Popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers with nut butter are all good choices.
2. A Handful of Nuts
Nuts are a good source of heart-healthy fats. And almonds and walnuts, specifically, contain melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Eating them can increase your blood levels of the hormone, helping you sleep more soundly.
3. Cottage Cheese
Foods that are high in lean protein, like cottage cheese, also pack the amino acid tryptophan, which may increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a brain chemical and low levels of it can contribute to insomnia. To sweeten it up, top the cottage cheese with raspberries, which are rich sources of melatonin.
4. A Cup of Bedtime Tea
A nightly cup of tea (sans caffeine, of course) can be a perfect relaxing ritual. Chamomile, ginger, and peppermint are calming choices for bedtime.
5. Warm Milk
According to Ayurveda, a glass of warm milk is a perfect beverage to induce sound sleep. Science seems to back the idea, too. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that converts into serotonin. Serotonin is known to have soothing effects in the brain, which helps you sleep well. Adding a pinch of nutmeg, a a pinch of cardamom and some crushed almonds would not only improve the taste of the milk, but also help promote good sleep.
Certain fruits that contain melatonin may help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often during the night. For instance, tart cherry juice and whole tart cherries contain a lot of melatonin, and bananas, pineapple, and oranges are also sources. If you have insomnia, eating two kiwis before bed can increase your sleep duration by an hour over the course of a month. Other fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants (like berries, prunes, raisins, and plums) may have a similar effect by helping to counteract the oxidative stress caused by a sleep disorder.
The Bottom Line
Getting enough sleep is very important for your health.
Fortunately, several foods may help, thanks to their content of sleep-regulating hormones and brain chemicals, including melatonin and serotonin. Additionally, some foods contain high amounts of specific antioxidants and nutrients, such as magnesium, that are known to enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep faster or stay asleep longer.
To reap the benefits of sleep-enhancing foods, it may be best to consume them 2–3 hours before bed. This is because eating immediately before going to sleep may cause digestive issues, such as acid reflux.