The brain depends on a complex array of nutrients to ensure peaceful, uninterrupted slumber. If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, or to stay asleep, here are seven foods that you should eat 1 to 4 hours before bed to sleep more soundly.
Spinach: The beauty of spinach is that it’s rich in magnesium and calcium. The former helps relax the nerves and muscles, while the latter helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone.
Cherries: One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that tart cherry juice was as effective as the sleep herb valerian. Sweet cherries are also high in melatonin and may have many of the same sleep-promoting effects.
Hummus: Like spinach, chickpeas are rich in the sleep-induced amino acid tryptophan.
Almond butter: Almonds and other nuts are very high in magnesium and rich in sleep-promoting tryptophan. They’re also high in potassium, which can significantly increase sleep efficiency and decrease awakenings after falling asleep, and B vitamins, which promote restful sleep.
Kiwis: These delicious vitamin bombs are rich in sleep-promoting phytochemicals, along with antioxidants. Studies show that poor sleep is linked with lower levels of antioxidants.
Nutritional yeast: eating just 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains more than the full daily value (DV) for vitamin B12 and 480% of the DV for vitamin B6. Studies have found significant correlations between B12 and duration of sleep, while B6 helps boost serotonin levels, which, when depleted, disrupt sleep.
Organic corn: This food is rich in carbs, and carbs stimulate insulin, which indirectly makes tryptophan more available. In short, eating some organic corn can set you up for some good sleep.
4-7-8 Technique for Better Sleep and Reduced Anxiety: The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. Read on...
Today's Magazine articles