Sleeplessness is a public health problem. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that about 50 to 70 million adults suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorder across the country.
Sleeping problems — trouble with falling or staying asleep — can be due to various factors. They may be attributed to an underlying medical condition, psychiatric disorders or lifestyle habits. Do you know that using your smartphone during bedtime keeps your brain awake?
If you’re having trouble catching the sleep wave at night, there are natural remedies you can explore. Yoga has relaxing effects that can induce sleep. You can also change your diet to health and sleep-inducing foods. Here are 11 indulgent foods that can help you sleep better.
Almonds and Walnuts
Nuts are some of the foods that can help you sleep through the night. People with low levels of magnesium are found to have problems getting uninterrupted sleep at night. Consume a cup of almonds throughout the day to boost your body’s magnesium levels. Walnuts, which are rich in sleep-enhancing amino acid tryptophan, helps the body set its natural sleep-wake cycles. Have a handful of raw walnuts at dinner time for better sleep at night.
Milk, Cheese and Crackers
Dairy products contain tryptophan which helps in the production of sleep-regulating hormones serotonin and melatonin. These foods are also high in nutrients needed for strong bones. Drink a glass of warm milk or a serving of cheese and crackers for a much needed shut-eye.
Lettuce: The Sedative Greens
Lettuce is rich in lactucarium, a milky fluid with sedative and analgesic properties. This vegetable is said to have the same effect on the brain as opium. Lettuce also contains magnesium and calcium. You can have salad for dinner or brew lettuce leaves for hot tea before bedtime.
Kale is also a highly-recommended food to eat when you can’t sleep. This green leafy vegetable contains vitamin B that produces the sleep-inducing hormone serotonin. Kale is also loaded with folate that women need during their pregnancy. Kale contains calcium and vitamin C.
You may have heard of sleepwalking—a person walks or does other activities while still asleep. There’s another sleep-related disorder you should be aware of: sleep eating disorder. The American Sleep Association (ASA) describes sleep eating as “a parasomnia event in which the subject awakens during sleeping hours, sometimes multiple times during one sleeping period, and eats or drinks, often excessively.” This can pose danger as accidents may happen while preparing food while one is still sleeping.
The ASA recommends having a proper, well-balanced diet to avoid the risk of developing the sleep eating syndrome. Have a serving of fish such as tuna and salmon in your daily meals. These are rich in vitamin B6 and magnesium.
One of the foods that can help you sleep to fight insomnia is white rice. According to National Sleep Foundation (NSF), insomnia or the difficulty falling or staying asleep can be caused by medical conditions such as nasal allergies, gastrointestinal problems or neurological conditions. In some instances, people suffer from insomnia because of anxiety or unhealthy lifestyles.
Prevent insomnia by including white rice in your diet. A study by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating high-glycemic food such as jasmine rice helps one get a good night’s sleep. The researchers recommend consuming rice four hours before bedtime.
Have a Glass of Cherry Juice
If you’re thinking of things to do when you can’t sleep, simply head to the kitchen and prepare yourself a glass of cherry juice. A team of researchers from Louisiana State University says that drinking the fruit juice twice a day can result to extra 90 minutes of quality sleep at night. “Cherry juice is a natural source of the sleep-wake cycle hormone melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan,” according to study coauthor, Dr. Frank Greenway.
Hot Herbal Teas at Night
Healthy food and sleeping right are the simple secrets of a long life. While it is easy to prepare a balanced diet (it’s the commitment of eating right that’ll be tough), it’s quite a different story when it comes to getting quality shut-eye. Drinking herbal tea is a recommended bedtime ritual because of the sedative properties of certain herbs. Choose chamomile, valerian, lavender and passionfruit. Brew a pot of any of these teas to fall asleep after eating your dinner.
Hummus: The Sleep Dip
Are you looking for an alternative food to eat to help you sleep? Enjoy hummus on a piece of bread before bedtime. This favorite dip is rich in tryptophan, folate, and vitamin B6. Folate is not only beneficial for pregnant mothers and their unborn child but also for elders who need to regulate their sleep patterns.
Bananas and Pineapples
Snooze well on a comfortable mattress every single night. Do you know that fruits are not only good for your digestion but can also help you get good sleep? Bananas and pineapples have high levels melatonin, which play a role in the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Have a some fruits throughout the day especially before hitting the sack.
Spread Some Peanut Butter
The National Sleep Foundation advises that adults aged 18 to 64 years should be getting seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Older adults aged 65 and above must get seven to eight hours of shut-eye. Anything less or greater than these recommended hours is bad for your health. Get soothing zzz’s every night by eating the right sleep-inducing foods. Spread some peanut butter on a slice of bread or a banana for your bedtime snack. Peanut butter is rich in tryptophan that can help stimulate sleepiness.
Knowing what to eat to helps you get sufficient sleep on your bed mattress is not enough. You should also be aware of the foods to avoid. High-fat burgers and fries were found to disrupt the body clock. Avoid, at all costs, anything with caffeine in the late afternoon. This will give you a hard time falling as asleep at bedtime. Other items in your fridge that should be out of your sight after dinner include tomatoes, potatoes, chocolates and spicy ramen.