Foods That Help You Sleep

Foods That Help You Sleep

Many foods contain naturally occurring substances that bring on sleep; here are some of the best choices to help you settle down for a quality rest.

Good night sleepWalnuts

Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles. Additionally, University of Texas researchers found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster.

Almonds

Almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep. A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it makes it harder to stay asleep.

Cheese and crackers

Old wives’ tales suggest that warm milk can make you sleepy, but the truth is any dairy product can help. Calcium (found in cheese, yogurt, milk, and these surprising sources) helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin. Additionally, calcium helps regulate muscle movements.

Lettuce

A salad with dinner could speed up your bedtime since lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium. You can also try this brew from the book Stealth Health: Simmer three to four large lettuce leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add two sprigs of mint, and sip just before you go to bed

Tuna

Fish such as tuna, halibut, and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin. Other foods high in B6 include raw garlic and pistachio nuts.

Rice

White rice has a high glycemic index, so eating it will significantly slash the time it takes you to fall asleep, according to an Australian study. In particular, jasmine rice in particular brings on shut-eye faster; research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate a meal that included jasmine rice fell asleep faster than when they ate other rice types.

By Alyssa Jung

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