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8 Foods that Can Help You Sleep Better

Sleep is an essential part of living a healthy life.  For some, sleep doesn’t come as easily due to a variety of issues such as chronic insomnia, stress, and anxiety, just to name a few. Studies show that adults need on average between 7-9 hours of sleep in order to function at a proper, healthy level.  Getting just one hour less of sleep per night can negatively affect the functions of individuals on the next day.  Change in diet can be a great way to help people sleep better.  Here at PürMedica, we have come up with a list of eight foods that can help you sleep better at night.  Melatonin is  a hormone that is critical for sleep, it helps control the sleep cycles.  Calcium and Magnesium are two minerals that are also important towards getting good sleep.  Both of them help relax the brain and effectively help us go to sleep.

1. Fish

Most fish have an abundance of vitamin B6, which makes melatonin.  Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles.  Something to watch out for is that not all fish is healthy as some are high in contaminants, the fish to try and eat would be halibut, salmon, and anchovies, as they are all high in melatonin.  Caviar, cod, and catfish are a few examples of fish that are not as healthy and should not be eaten to aid in sleep.

2. Increase intake of B vitamins

In addition to serotonin, melatonin, and tryptophan, B vitamins are essential to getting a good night’s sleep. B vitamins can help improve symptoms of insomnia, and the B vitamin Thiamine contains magnesium, which as we have mentioned is critical to improving sleep. B6 is the most easily accessible B vitamin and the one people likely eat the most.  B6 is found in a wide variety of foods such as, poultry, chickpeas, fish, and bananas.  B3 is another B vitamin that can improve your sleep, and this can be found in beets, poultry, pork, and peanuts.

3. Dairy

Dairy products like milk and yogurt are rich in melatonin-boosting calcium and magnesium.  Many studies have discovered that a lack of proper calcium intake has been linked to lack of sleep.  Calcium and magnesium have been shown to help regulate the body’s sleep cycle.  It turns out the old adage about having “a glass of warm milk” before bed can actually help you get a good night’s sleep.  In order to continue to sleep well, try to consume three to four servings of dairy each day.

4. Nuts

Nuts such as almonds and walnuts contain substantial amounts of magnesium, which promotes sleep and muscle relaxation.  Almond butter can also be used as a great substitute for butter on toast.  Even spreading peanut butter on crackers can help in multiple ways.  The peanut butter is rich in tryptophan, and the crackers provide carbs that help tryptophan reach the brain more easily, which enables you to fall asleep quicker.  Something to watch out for, however, is that nuts are high in calories so you should not eat too many of them.

5. Cherries

Cherries are one of the only natural sources of melatonin.  Recent studies have shown that individuals who drink tart cherry juice or cherries before bed fall asleep sooner and slept better.  If you are not comfortable drinking juice, eat a cup of cherries about an hour before you go to sleep and your sleeping habits should be much better.  Unlike nuts, cherries are relatively low in calories and offer additional health benefits besides helping with sleep such as protection from diabetes and reducing the chances of stroke and heart disease.

6. Bananas

Bananas are a food with one of the highest potassium and magnesium contents, which help to relax muscles.  In addition they also contain tryptophan, which as we have mentioned already, turns into serotonin and melatonin, which are responsible for helping to induce sleep.

7. Tea

Green Tea contains theanine, an amino acid that helps promote sleep, however; there are other teas that will likely be able to get you to fall asleep.  For example, camomile tea has long been heralded as a drink that will make you go to sleep due to its calming nature.  There are also other teas such as chamomile and valerian that can help reduce stress. One thing to watch out for however is to make sure that tea is not caffeinated, as that would keep you awake.

8. High protein foods

Foods that are high in protein promote sleep.  In addition, it can also limit the effects of heartburn, which can make sleep very challenging.  Some of the foods to eat before going to sleep would be, two slices of lean meat or cheese, a hardboiled egg, fresh fruit, or a handful of pumpkin seeds.  

The following are just a few foods that can help you get to sleep.  If we missed anything, feel free to leave a comment below telling us what you like to eat before going to sleep.