Blog By thomasa on 23 February 2016

Sleep Deeper With These 3 Foods

Sleep deeper

According to the National Sleep Foundation, around 40% of people have some form of disturbed sleep pattern, a condition known as insomnia. Insomnia means difficulty falling asleep, or waking up without getting enough sleep, so that your body is never properly rested and revived. This condition is often the result of insufficient melatonin, and stress.  

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your circadian patterns so that you’re able to sleep and wake up at the right time. People suffering from insomnia typically don’t have sufficient melatonin in their bodies and need to relieve stress so they can sleep undisturbed. You could replace melatonin in your body by taking artificial forms of the hormone. However, a healthier option is to include certain foods in your diet that can make up for the deficiency organically. To help you get a better night’s sleep, consider trying the following three food types before bed-time. 

  1. Fresh Fruits

Several fruits like grapes, bananas, pineapples, oranges and tomatoes can significantly raise the level of melatonin in your body. For instance, pineapples work to increase levels by more than 266%, oranges by 47%, and bananas by 180%. Eating bananas has an additional positive. This fruit packs magnesium, tryptophan and vitamin B12, all of which induce the production of serotonin. This feel-good compound is a great stress reliever and works to help you fall asleep. Tart cherries are yet another melatonin producing fruit that help your digestion and since they have antioxidant properties, they help lower inflammation levels too. You can eat this fruit in its dried form or even drink a glass of cherry juice. Other than cherries, it is preferable to consumer fruits in natural forms instead of the canned and processed varieties. 

TIP: Try replacing your after-dinner dessert with a bowl of freshly cut fruit. 

  1. Dairy Products

Most people are aware of the power of a glass of warm milk and how it can help you sleep. Milk contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan. This compound transforms into 5-HTP and produces serotonin, which has a calming effect on your mind and body. Milk also contains high levels of the mineral calcium, which helps the brain produce melatonin. However, you can replace milk with other dairy products and achieve the same results. Cheese, low-fat cream and yogurt can also help you get the sleep you need. 

TIP: Having a glass of warm milk before turning in is the best option. You can also opt to add cheese or a bowl of yogurt to your meals. Alternatively, replace dessert with a bowl of yogurt sweetened with fresh fruit. If you cannot tolerate dairy products, choose soymilk instead. 

  1. Complex Carbohydrates or Grains

Carbohydrates like oatmeal, brown and wild rice, granola, cooked cereals, unprocessed wheat bran or just basic toast can help you sleep better. For instance, oatmeal contains a range of minerals and vitamins in addition to amino acids, potassium, B vitamins, complex carbohydrates, and magnesium. Vitamin B6, found in cereals such as oats, acts as a stress reliever and also produces melatonin.  

Other carbohydrates can also raise blood sugar levels that in turn lift your insulin levels. Insulin induces the production of melatonin and serotonin, which together are the perfect cocktail to help you fall asleep, and stay asleep. Jasmine rice is yet another very powerful sleep aid.  

TIP: Include carbohydrates in some form in your meal. Make sure you opt for whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat breads. You could also try eating a small bowl of cereal with milk just before going to sleep. When combined with milk, carbohydrates are the ideal sleep-inducing aid. 

In addition to these food groups, you can also try nuts like walnuts, cashew nuts and almonds, green, leafy vegetables, and seeds like sunflower and flax.. All these foods help you sleep better.