Posted on Jul 19, 2019, 1 p.m.
Getting enough sleep helps one feel energized and ready for the day, sleep is essential for a variety of health outcomes. But it is not always easy to go to sleep and remain that way due to factors such as stress, anxiety, caffeine, noise, and blue light exposure among others.
Some believe that what you eat can help to improve sleep which works in a variety of ways; some of these are natural sources of melatonin, some provide amino acids to help the body produce melatonin, and others provide nutrients that are needed to help the body relax as you drift off to slumber.
Almonds contain melatonin, and provide magnesium which may also help improve sleep quality; just one ounce contains 76 mg of magnesium and 75 mg of calcium to help promote sleep. A study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines found rats fed 400 mg of almond extract to have slept longer and more deeply.
Avocados contain healthy fats and can provide about 4% of the recommended daily value of magnesium which is linked to decreased levels of stress and fewer inflammatory issue that can help promote sleep. The levels of monounsaturated fats and fiber can help you to feel more satisfied, meaning you will be less likely to wake up feeling hungry during the night; and these healthy fats can help to stabilize blood sugar levels that can cause restless sleep, headaches, and night sweats.
Cauliflower is made up of 92% water, this cruciferous veggie carries many nutritional benefits such as contributing to hydration to promote sleep quality and duration. Additionally it contains potassium which is important for blood flow, muscle contraction, and easing muscle cramps; just one cup of chopped raw cauliflower contains about 7% of the recommended dietary intake of potassium.
Chickpeas are rich in tryptophan and also contain vitamin B6 and magnesium that can help to promote a more restful sleep. One cup provides 1.1 mg of vitamin B6 which is essential for the production of serotonin neurotransmitters that help to keep us happy, and promote proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems. In regards to sleep this B vitamin helps to promote making melatonin, thus including foods with vitamin B6 provides your body with the tools it needs to sleep well.
Dates may not look pretty but the carry many benefits, and when it comes to sleep the provide vitamin B6 which is important to protein metabolism and helping convert tryptophan into serotonin; just 2 dates contain about 8% of the recommended value of potassium that helps to ease muscle contractions, regulate the heartbeat and control fluid balances which can be important to a restful sleep.
Grapefruit is made up of about 88% water, this contributes to adequate hydration needs which can affect the quality of sleep, and also contains potassium which has been shown to have beneficial effects on quality of sleep and in less time waking up. One cup of grapefruit contain about 310 mg of potassium which can help to reduce muscle cramping which can wake you from sleep. One cup also contains 21 mg of magnesium and 51 mg of calcium which play roles in a good sleep; magnesium help to carry calcium throughout the body and calcium helps with melatonin production.
Tart cherries contain melatonin that helps to regulate the body’s internal clock, and they are one of the few foods that contain this hormone that is believed to help improve sleep. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics found that 8 fluid ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day, once in the morning and again 2 hours before bed, helped to prolong sleep by 84 minutes.
Most of these foods would make a great night time snack, however, it is not good to go to bed on a full stomach, rather enjoy eating them at least an hour or two before going to bed to promote enjoying a deep sleep.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.