Sure, you don’t want to gorge yourself on dinner and snacks before bed time preventing you from your much-needed beauty rest and possibly cause insomnia…but don’t starve yourself either, having the right foods in small quantities before retiring to bed could be just what the doctor ordered…the sleep doctor, that is.
1. Walnuts – They are full of tryptophan that can help your body make more serotonin and melatonin, which tell your brain that it is time to go to sleep. Additionally, one study even found that walnuts have their own separate source of melatonin. All in all, this nutty snack will help you go to sleep quicker and sleep better too.
2. Almonds – These nuts include high amounts of magnesium. People who do not have enough magnesium in their body will have trouble staying asleep. Additionally, this mineral, or a lack of it for that matter, can aggravate restless leg syndrome. Almonds can help ensure you get quality sleep and prevent insomnia.
3. Lettuce – This leafy green contains something in it called lacturcarium. It can actually work as a sedative and studies have shown that it can have a similar effect on the brain as opium (without the dangers or addictive qualities). You can even make a lettuce drink to help you sleep. Just simmer a few lettuce leaves in water for about 15 minutes, add some mint and sip.
4. Pretzels – These snacks are high on the glycemic index. They will cause a blood sugar spike. Now, as we have talked about, a blood sugar crash can make it hard to sleep comfortably. However, pretzels don’t cause this crash. They metabolize slowly. So, the spike will help you go to sleep, but no crashes will mean you get to stay asleep.
5. Tuna, Salmon, and Halibut – These types of fish are high in vitamin B6. This vitamin will help your body create both melatonin and serotonin, which will tell your mind it is time to go to sleep. You can also get high amounts of vitamin B6 from pistachio nuts.
6. Jasmine Rice – As with pretzels, rice is high on the glycemic index, making it easy to fall asleep, but it doesn’t cause the blood sugar crash so that you will be able to stay asleep. A study that was included in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that any white rice will do, but Jasmine rice meant people fell asleep much faster.
7. Cherries – They contain high amounts of melatonin, which indicates to your body that it is time to go to sleep. In fact, studies have been completed, including one at the University of Pennsylvania, that found drinking a glass of cherry juice at night will improve symptoms of insomnia.
8. Chamomile Tea – This tea has long been used as a way to relax and sleep. That’s because it contains something called glycine, which will work as a sedative and relax both nerves and muscles.
9. Passion Fruit – You can also make a tea from passion fruit and this will help you get to sleep. That’s because this fruit contains Harman alkaloids, which tell your nervous system it is time to relax and go to sleep. Many people suggest that you have a cup of passion fruit tea about an hour before bed.
10. Honey – Honey contains natural sugars that actually ensure the brain is better able to access tryptophan so that you will get sleepy quicker. The best way to use honey is to mix a spoonful in a cup of chamomile tea. You will get a double dose of sleepiness.
11. Kale – This is another leafy green that can help you sleep more soundly. Kale contains high amounts of calcium, which will allow the body to better process and manufacture tryptophan and melatonin. As a result, you will get sleepy much more quickly. You can get the same result from mustard greens and spinach.
12. Hummus – This dip or spread made from chickpeas is filled with tryptophan. Additionally, when you eat it with whole grain crackers, you will be getting the tryptophan itself as well as ingredients that will help the chemical enter the brain. This can help you get a better quality of sleep and avoid insomnia.
The key here is quantities. The last thing you want to do is serve up an army sized portion of any one of these or the purpose of satisfying your cravings and settling in for a nice restful sleep will be defeated.
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