Whether it’s a jerk after a cup of coffee or drowsiness after a dinner party, most individuals have experienced how food and drinks affect their energy and alertness.
This is because food relates directly to serotonin, a critical hormone that, along with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, helps promote healthy sleep.
Diet and sleep are complex, meaning no silver bullet or single food is guaranteed to help with sleep. However, some foods and drinks may make it easier to get a great night’s sleep.
Dietary choices affect more than energy and sleepiness. They play a significant role in things like weight, cardiovascular health, and blood sugar levels, to name a few.
Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor or dietician before significantly changing your diet. Doing so ensures that your food choices support not just your sleep but all your other health priorities.
Understanding how poor sleep affects your physical and mental health and how a good diet can help is essential.
Nutrients That Promote Good Sleep
Many chemicals, including amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones, promote good sleep and regulate the sleep cycle. These include:
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins
Foods that can promote your sleep are numerous. A few of them are mentioned here for a better idea. In addition, you can avail authentic sleeping aids from getdiazepam from a list of options.
The kiwifruit is an oval-shaped fruit popularly grown in New Zealand. There are green and gold varieties, but green kiwis are produced more significantly.
Kiwifruit possesses multiple vitamins and minerals, notably vitamins C and E and potassium and folate.
Research suggests that eating kiwi can improve sleep. For example, in a study, people who ate 2 kiwis an hour before bedtime fell asleep quicker, slept more, and had better sleep quality.
It is unknown why kiwis may help with sleep. Still, researchers believe that it might relate to their antioxidant properties, high concentrations of serotonin, and ability to address folate deficiencies.
Tart Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice
As the name suggests, tart cherries have a distinct flavor from sweet cherries and are sometimes called sour cherries.
They may be sold whole or as tart cherry juice. Several studies have concluded that sleep benefits people who drink tart cherry juice.
For example, in one study, people taking two one-cup servings of tart cherry juice had more sleep time and higher quality.
These benefits are because tart cherries have above-average melatonin concentrations. This hormone helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep. In addition, tart cherries may have an antioxidant effect conducive to sleep.
Malted Milk and Nighttime Milk
Malted milk is prepared by combining milk and a specially formulated powder that primarily contains wheat flour, malted wheat, and barley, with sugar and an array of vitamins, like Horlicks.
Malted milk before bed reduces sleep interruptions. The explanation of this benefit is uncertain but may concern the B and D vitamins in the malted milk.
Milk itself contains melatonin, and specific milk products are melatonin-enriched. In addition, when cows are milked at night, their milk has more melatonin, which may help provide a natural source of the sleep-producing hormone.
Lean proteins include low-fat cheese, turkey, chicken, and fish. These foods are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels.
Tryptophan may also be found in egg whites, soybeans, and pumpkin seeds. Conversely, avoid chicken wings, high-fat cheeses, or deep-fried fish. These take longer to digest and may keep you awake.
A research study has concluded that fatty fish may be good food for better sleep.
Researchers believe that fatty fish helps sleep by providing vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with your body’s regulation of serotonin.
This study focused mainly on fish consumption during winter when vitamin D levels tend to be lower.
Unsaturated fats will not only boost heart health but will also improve your serotonin levels.
Examples include peanut butter (read the label to ensure peanuts are the only ingredient) and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
Avoid saturated and trans fats, like french fries, potato chips, or other high-fat snack foods. These bring your serotonin levels down.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews are often considered good food for sleep.
Though the exact amounts vary, nuts contain melatonin and essential minerals like magnesium and zinc vital for various bodily processes.
For example, a clinical trial using supplements found that a combination of magnesium, melatonin, and zinc helped older adults with insomnia get better sleep.
Carbohydrate intake and sleep studies have mixed results, but some evidence connects rice consumption with improved sleep.
For example, a study of adults in Japan found that people who regularly ate rice slept better than those who ate noodles or bread.
However, this study only identified an association and cannot demonstrate a connection. Still, it supports previous research that eating foods with a high glycemic index around 4 hours before bedtime helped with falling asleep.
Fresh herbs may have a calming effect on the body. For example, basil and sage contain chemicals that lessen tension and promote sleep. Make homemade pasta sauce with sage and basil.
It’s easy to do, and homemade sauces are lower in sugar than store-bought versions. However, it is better to avoid herbs, including red or black pepper, especially at night, as they are stimulatory.
Try some of the sleep-inducing snacks to lessen your tossing and turning when in bed:
- Try a banana with low-fat yogurt.
- Use peanut butter on whole-grain crackers.
- Take low-fat cottage cheese with a few 100 % whole-grain pita chips.
- Enjoy an apple with mozzarella string cheese.
- Tart cherry juice also promotes sleep.
Sleep affects every aspect of health. Fortunately, some foods and drinks contain compounds that help control parts of the sleep cycle, which may help you fall and stay asleep.
Jean Smith is a fitness enthusiast and blogger who focuses on fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is passionate about assisting people in living healthier lifestyles and is constantly on the lookout for new and creative methods to stay fit and healthy. Her articles are excellent resources for anyone interested in improving their health and fitness.