The Top 10 Foods That Will Help You Sleep Better
We’ve been talking a lot about ways to catch more Zzz’s, and most of those lifestyle changes require a little effort. Fortunately, there’s one delicious way to improve your sleep that can be done passively while working, hanging out with friends, or watching TV: eating the right foods. After all, much of falling asleep easily is determined by chemicals and your mood, and many foods contain chemicals that can help calm you down before getting your best night’s rest.
Chances are, you’ve probably got some of these foods already in your fridge or pantry. Take a look and see what yummy food choices you can make to improve your sleep:
Chocolate usually isn’t associated with health, but it is healthy. Dark chocolate–emphasis on dark — has been proven to lower stress levels. Keep a bar in the fridge around for when life gets too busy to go to sleep on time. Make sure it’s 70% cacao or higher, since milk chocolate won’t have the same effects.
Celery or carrot sticks with ranch dip is a popular, easy-to-prepare, healthy snack. To make it even more healthy, swap out the dip for hummus. Made with ground chickpeas, hummus is high in protein,vitamin B and tryptophan, an amino acid that can help you sleep. If you get tired of plain hummus, try out another flavor such as olive, tomato, and basil.
You’ve probably heard how great bananas are for potassium, but that’s not all they’re about. Bananas aid in muscle relaxation and help produce tryptophan and melatonin, the sleep hormone. If muscle aches are keeping you up, a banana before bed could make a difference. For an extra boost, try it with some dark chocolate dip!
If you’re a carnivore, switch out some of your meat for turkey and fall asleep as easily as you did on Thanksgiving night. Turkey is also packed with tryptophan and can be delicious paired with a complex carb such as sweet potatoes or even with some hummus for more of a boost.
A popular protein-packed healthy dessert, Greek yogurt is high in calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. It’s probably the most versatile food on this list and can be paired with almost anything sweet and savory, such as nuts, berries, and chocolate. Adding carbs to yogurt helps clear amino acids to allow the tryptophan to reach your brain more efficiently, so top it off with some granola.
Oatmeal can help raise serotonin levels and is also extremely versatile, making a delicious meal or snack with berries, chocolate, cinnamon, or even savory spices. They’re also a source of healthy carbs, so try swapping out your favorite high-carb dessert with similarly-flavored oatmeal.
Various nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, come with tons of benefits in small packages. These include tryptophan, melatonin, and magnesium to help you relieve stress. Nuts are also high in fatty acids and calories.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to sweeten up the above foods, pick honey! Honey raises insulin levels, making it easier for tryptophan to enter the brain. Pasteurization can deplete most of the nutrients in honey, so aim for the raw stuff.
Another way to sweeten up the above foods and add a touch of the tropics are with some pineapple slices. In a study, pineapple was found to double the subjects’ melatonin production. Pineapples may be sweet, but pair well with savory foods such as fried rice and burgers.
Jasmine White Rice
If you’re going to make that pineapple fried rice, make sure you use Jasmine rice! According to an Oxford study, Jasmine rice increases the amount of tryptophan, leading to a significant difference in how quickly the subjects fell asleep.
Incorporating some of these foods into your daily routine and meals are an easy way to head towards better sleep. Most of them pair well with other foods, so it’s likely that something you already eat could use a side of some of the above.
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