Foods rich in specific nutrients can improve our ability to sleep and the quality of sleep,” Vandana Sheth, a registered nutritionist, explained to CNN. California-based Sheth also provides diet and sleep hygiene counseling to clients. So, this is probably good news for those of us who experience trouble sleeping occasionally or almost every night. Here is a list of foods and dishes worth considering for a good night’s sleep.
1. Red fruits with yogurt
The carbohydrates in berries can help increase serotonin production in the brain, while yogurt is a source of sleep-promoting tryptophan. “Yogurt isn’t just for breakfast. And it helps satisfy that sweet, creamy treat that many people enjoy as a late-night snack,” Nancy Z. Farrell Allen , a registered dietitian nutritionist, explained to CNN. Virginia-based Farrell Allen is also a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
2. Sour cherry juice, or cherries, with nuts
This food option is rich in melatonin, a hormone that plays a key role in the body’s sleep cycle. When it gets dark, melatonin production increases, which helps promote healthy sleep. Although some people with sleep problems may consider a melatonin supplement, tart cherries (also called sour cherries) provide a natural source of this hormone. In one study , those who drank tart cherry juice had higher levels of melatonin. In addition, they experienced longer and better-quality sleep compared to a group that received a placebo. Tart cherry juice also showed beneficial effects on sleep in older adults with insomnia in other research . Walnuts , along with pistachios and almonds, are another source of melatonin . In fact, they can be paired with a shot of tart cherry juice for an after-dinner snack, according to Sheth.
3. Chickpeas with a glass of milk
Chickpeas and milk are sources of tryptophan , an amino acid that can help improve sleep. Tryptophan is converted to melatonin in the brain, as well as serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps promote sleep and relaxation. One option is to roast chickpeas with a little olive oil and salt, which gives them a crunchy texture. (Just rinse them, dry them, toss them with oil and seasonings, then roast them at 220 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.)
Kiwi is a source of antioxidants and serotonin, both of which may help improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with sleep disorders, according to a study . Sleep efficiency refers to the percentage of the total time in bed that we actually sleep. An easy way to enjoy kiwi is to cut the fruit in half horizontally and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
5. Spinach salad with quinoa, avocado and pumpkin seeds
Start your dinner with a salad that contains these ingredients. Precisely, because they are rich sources of magnesium , a mineral necessary to achieve normal sleep. “Magnesium regulates the neurotransmitter melatonin and helps keep our sleep cycles in check,” explained Farrell Allen. Magnesium also works by increasing the neurotransmitter GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, in the brain. What slows down thinking and helps to fall asleep. In fact, not having adequate levels of this mineral can contribute to insomnia .
6. Bananas with peanut butter
This combination is not only rich in magnesium, but it will also help reduce blood sugar spikes, Sheth explained. And in that sense, she added, it can be especially helpful for people with diabetes.
7. Protein-Rich Foods for Dinner
Consider fish, eggs and cheese at dinner, as they contain the amino acid ornithine, Sheth noted. According to a small study , this amino acid can potentially relieve stress and improve sleep quality when dealing with fatigue.
8. Herbal tea
A cup of herbal tea can serve as a perfect sleep drink . “Some of my clients find chamomile tea helpful as part of their sleep routine to wind down and go to sleep,” Sheth recounted. “It’s relaxing, calming, and contains an antioxidant called apigenin that can help initiate the sleep cycle.” Passion flower tea may offer short-term sleep benefits in healthy adults with mild fluctuations in sleep quality, according to a study . “It actually increases GABA levels in our brain,” Sheth added.
9. Golden milk (“golden milk”) made with turmeric
Turmeric soothes the stomach, and when you add warm milk to it, it can help you fall asleep faster or sleep better, Sheth explained. You can add black pepper, which improves our ability to absorb curcumin , the bright yellow compound in turmeric that offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Do you need a prescription? Try the anti- inflammatory golden milk that I make. These foods give you a variety of options and are easy to incorporate into your weekly nightly routine. Try them for a more restful rest