Top 10 Foods That (Might) Help You Sleep
The most common sleep disorder is, by far, insomnia. One in every 3 adults has occasional insomnia while one in every 10 has it chronically. Insomnia is normally a phase for many people due to many reasons like stress for example. Once the stress is gone, then the insomnia is gone. This type of insomnia can usually be fixed by trying many natural methods.
One of these methods to help you sleep better can be as simple as changing your diet. Yes, certain foods can make us sleepy! Why do you think sometimes you feel sleepy after that nice lunch you had on your work break? Now, this does not mean to engorge these foods and you will sleep better at night. Actually, eating too much of any kind of food will hurt your chances of getting a good night’s rest. So, what are the foods that might help you sleep? Here are the top 10.
- Poultry – Chicken or Turkey has tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that you can only get from what you eat/drink. It helps your body make serotonin (a relaxing mood hormone) which then helps your body make melatonin (a hormone that controls sleep cycles).
- Fish – Vitamin B6 is abundant in fish, with salmon, tuna, and halibut having the most. B6 is what makes melatonin (melatonin is normally triggered by being in the dark). By eating fish for dinner you can give that melatonin a head start before turning out the lights.
- Yogurt – Calcium processes hormones that help you sleep which are tryptophan and melatonin. Calcium, of course, can be found in anything dairy related if you don’t like yogurt. Other things you could try are milk or cheese and crackers
- Kale – This leafy green is also rich in calcium which again is important in making those sleep hormones go to work that we have mentioned above.
- Bananas – They are high in potassium which helps to KEEP you asleep. It also has tryptophan and magnesium which are natural sedatives.
- Whole Grains –Encourages insulin production that results in tryptophan activity in the brain. It also has magnesium which is said to help you STAY asleep. When magnesium levels are too low you are more likely to wake up during the night.
- Honey – Glucose in honey lowers levels of orexin, orexin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you more alert. Honey will put that alertness in reverse.
- Nuts – Walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. These all boost serotonin levels by having magnesium and tryptophan.
- Eggs – Eggs are popular in the morning, but they also can make you sleepy due to having tryptophan. Try to have some breakfast for supper and see what happens.
- White Rice – White rice has a high glycemic index. This simply means that they will give you a natural increase in blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn, helps tryptophan go to work in your brain faster.
The key to remember is foods with a mix of calcium, potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, and B6 are going to be the foods to look for. All of the above have one of these or more. By trying these foods in the evening, you may be surprised by how fast you can fall asleep.
Aaron Stevenson is a public educator, health freak, and founder of Snooze EZ. A go-to-source for many sleep related topics.
Latest posts by Physician Reviewed M.D. (see all)
- Ask The Sleep Doctor:Depression and Sleep, Sleep Apps and Sleep Apnea and Car Accidents - February 12, 2019
- Ask The Sleep Doctor:Sleep Apnea in Child, Palpitations, Coffee and Sleep and more - January 18, 2019
- Ask The Sleep Doctor:Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea, Sleep and Parkinsons and Sleep and Heart Attacks - January 2, 2019