Do you have trouble falling asleep or once you fall do you wake up throughout the night? Getting adequate sleep is important to maintaining good health. Poor sleep can be related to increased levels of stress, obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension- the list goes on and on.
Over 60% of adults in the USA suffer from sleeping problems. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet and regular exercise are very important for a healthy lifestyle. Before reaching for sleeping pills or other sleep aids it may be time to assess your diet. Give the foods below a chance to help you fall asleep easier and insure a restful uninterrupted night of blissful sleep
Do you have trouble sleeping? Try an evening banana (for diabetics try a half of one to lower the sugar content. They are high potassium content, which can help with preventing cramps during the night. They are packed with magnesium which is important for muscle relaxation and thus deeper sleep. Eating a banana before bed can be also be useful in combating insomnia because of the amount of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is naturally present in food, such as bananas.
Studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish can reduce stress and thus help you relax. Salmon also contains vitamin B6, which boosts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Plus, salmon is high in protein which helps you feel full throughout the night. A recent study found people who regularly eat salmon have higher levels of vitamin D and had better sleep quality, shorter wake times and a higher percentage of sleeping time while in bed.
You have probably heard that herbal tea is supposed to help you sleep. But what kinds are best for making you sleepy? Chamomile tea has long been used to treat sleep disorders. It is believed to have its soothing effect to the flavonoid apigenin, a secondary metabolite. Lavender, valerian and mint teas are also known to relax the body.
Don’t drink black tea or green tea right before bed because they are stimulants and may keep you awake.
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. Other calcium-rich foods to try: leafy green vegetables like kale and collards.
It may come as a surprise, but cherries make for good bedtime treats. Drinking 1 glass (250ml/ 16oz) of cherry juice before bed can increase the melatonin levels in your blood. This then improves the quality of your sleep. The hormone melatonin regulates your sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm).
Fresh cherries can also have this effect. If the seasonal fruit is not available, then just snack on some dried cherries between meals.
Bulgur, barley and other whole grains are rich in magnesium. Many of us eat a diet that lacks this important mineral. It has been reported that eating too little magnesium results in trouble staying asleep.
A cup of cocoa before bed can work wonders. Chocolate is, in fact, one of the richest dietary sources of magnesium, a natural sedative that can greatly improve sleep. It also makes you sleepy. Why? Because of the tryptophan found in unsweetened cocoa powder.