Getting enough and quality sleep is very important to good health. It boosts your immune system, energizes your body, and keeps your brain alert and healthy. Sleep should be continuous and be between 7 to 9 hours long each day. Many people struggle to get enough sleep. In the U.S., 50 to 70 million adults suffer from a sleep disorder.
Sleep disorders include narcolepsy, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia. A study suggests that 35% of adults in the U.S. have symptoms of insomnia. Changes in diet and lifestyle can promote better sleep. Consuming sleep-inducing foods is one of the ways you can enhance the quality of your sleep. While there are certain foods that make you sleepy, making changes with your diet affects not just your sleep but also another body status like your blood sugar levels and weight. Hence, consulting your doctor is best if you wish to determine what kind of foods is right for you.
This article lists down four best foods that help you sleep.
Nuts such as walnuts and almonds are among the healthiest foods that make you sleepy. Nuts contain the hormone melatonin and minerals zinc and magnesium which, when combined, are proven to alleviate insomnia in older adults. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle of the body. When it starts to get dark outdoors, melatonin prompts your body to prepare because it will soon be time for sleep. Magnesium is a mineral necessary for the body’s enzyme reactions. It is also known to enhance the quality of sleep. Magnesium’s role in boosting sleep is due to its function of reducing inflammations. Magnesium also minimizes the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that interrupts sleep.
Almonds, in particular, are nuts recognized for its positive effect on sleep. Almonds are rich in magnesium. An ounce of almonds contains 19% of your daily recommended magnesium intake. Melatonin, zinc, and magnesium are also important for several bodily functions like maintaining heart health and regulating body temperature. Walnut is one of the best food sources of melatonin, and it is also good to enhance sleep quality.
2. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is known to induce sleep. Tart cherry juice is a good source of melatonin. Drinking this juice before going to bed may promote good sleep. Tart cherry juice has been a subject of many studies for its effects on insomnia. The study revealed that drinking 8 ounces of tart cherry juice two times a day in two weeks prolonged adults’ sleep with insomnia. Their sleep was extended for 84 minutes compared to their sleep duration when they did not drink the juice.
Kiwi is a nutrient-dense fruit known for its sweet, tangy taste. The reason why it is among the sleep-inducing foods is its serotonin content. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a brain chemical that regulates your circadian rhythm. The sleep-inducing effects of kiwi are also linked with its vitamin C and carotenoids content. Vitamin C and carotenoids are antioxidants that can reduce inflammations. In a month-long study on kiwis, adults ate two kiwifruits before going to bed daily. The study showed that adult participants fell asleep 42% faster than they normally would when they did not eat kiwis. Their total sleep time was also raised by 13%, and their sleep continuity improved by 5%.
4. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like tuna, trout, mackerel, and salmon are foods that help you sleep. Fatty fish are rich in vitamin D. For instance, a 3-ounce serving of sockeye salmon has 570 international units (IU) of vitamin D or 71% of your daily vitamin D needs. Fatty fish is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. The union of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids raises the production of serotonin. Serotonin, as mentioned above, regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle. For this reason, fatty fish are claimed to boost sleep quality. Six-month-long research suggests that eating 300 grams of Atlantic salmon three times per week made men fall asleep 10 minutes faster than other men who only consumed pork, beef, or chicken. Researchers linked this result to vitamin D. Participants who ate salmon consumed higher amounts of vitamin D, associated with enhanced sleep quality.