There are nights when counting sheep just doesn’t work. You glance at the clock – it’s 2:00 am and you’re still wide awake. You’ve been tossing and turning begging for sleep to come but it doesn’t. A few minutes later you finally doze off, only to wake up again at 3:00 am. It’s frustrating, we know. We’ve had a few of those nights too.
Don’t reach out for those sleeping pills just yet. There are actually medicine-free ways to help improve your sleep and all you have to do is throw in these 9 foods into your diet.
Here’s a list of the 9 best foods to help you sleep better:
- Chamomile Tea
Most chamomile tea boxes are advertised as calming and relaxing – for good reason. It contains apigenin, a type of antioxidant that binds to select receptors in your brain to promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
Drinking chamomile tea has also been scientifically studied to have caused fewer symptoms of depression, which is commonly associated with sleep problems.
- Passionflower Tea
This is another type of herbal tea that has been studied for its potential to reduce anxiety, using the same type of antioxidant as that of chamomiles.
Drinking passionflower tea also has been tested to increase a brain chemical called GABA that inhibits other brain chemicals inducing stress.
The calming effect of passionflower tea promotes sleepiness and may significantly improve sleep quality
- White Rice
Some studies suggest that consuming foods with a high glycemic index such as white rice, at least one hour before bedtime may help improve sleep quality.
However, white rice must be eaten in moderation if you’re watching your figure. There’s not much fiber and nutrients from this type of grain.
Well, who doesn’t love this delicious and nutritious Thanksgiving dinner staple?
It helps you sleep better too! It contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, making you feel ‘tired, or sleepy after eating it.
The protein in turkey meat may also contribute to this feeling of ‘tiredness’. Some studies found that consuming protein at moderate amounts before bed is associated with better quality of sleep, including less nighttime awakening.
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish – salmon, tuna, and mackerel, to name a few, may help you sleep better at night.
They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fatty fish have the potential to improve sleep quality, as both of these nutrients have been shown to stimulate the production of serotonin, a sleep-promoting brain chemical.
Almonds are an excellent source of many nutrients, and many claim that these nuts also help boost sleep quality.
Almonds are a great source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. It also contains magnesium, which if consumed in moderate amounts may help improve sleep quality among those who have insomnia. Magnesium may also help reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, known to interrupt sleep.
Try eating a handful (28 grams) of almonds before bed to help you sleep better.
Like almonds, walnuts also contain the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that may contribute to better sleep. This is how it works – omega 3-fatty acids are converted to DHA in our body, then DHA increases production of serotonin, a sleep-enhancing brain chemical.
However, there haven’t been enough scientific researches to support these claims. Won’t hurt to try though, walnuts are quite a good alternative to chips for bedtime-snacking.
Kiwis may be one of the best foods to eat before bed.
The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are believed to be due to their serotonin content that helps regulate your sleep rhythm.
The antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, have also been suggested to be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects.
- Tart Cherry Juice
This fruit juice is known to promote sleepiness and has also been studied for its role in relieving insomnia.
Drinking tart cherry juice before bed may help you sleep better because of its melatonin content, which regulates your internal body clock and tells your body to get ready for sleep.
Getting the right amount of sleep is extremely important for your overall health and well-being. Try adding these 9 foods to your diet and watch how your sleep quality improves!
Read Healthline’s full article regarding this list including links to the research studies conducted on these sleep-promoting foods.
What food on the list are you trying out tonight? Let us know in the comments below!