A lot of people are interested in foods to help you sleep. For years, we Americans have been sleep-deprived, even though we know how unhealthy a chronic lack of sleep can be. But if you suffer from insomnia, you may not like the idea of taking a pharmaceutical sleep aid… is there something you can eat or drink that will help you get a good night’s sleep? Yes, there is, and I can tell you all about these magical sleep-inducing foods and beverages. Here are 7 foods to help you sleep. Grab your favorite snuggly blanket and read this helpful bed-time story.
1. Warm Milk Toddy
Though a 2003 study at MIT showed that the protein in milk disables the effectiveness of its sleep-inducing tryptophan, I join the generations of people who swear by it as a food to help you sleep. Perhaps it’s all psychological, but a warm milk toddy — made by simmering whole milk and stirring in a teaspoon of honey — is a marvelous way to unwind and get sleepy.
2. Walnuts or Almonds
Though almonds and walnuts are both high in calories, bear in mind that these calories come from healthy fats… and that both are also an excellent natural source of melatonin, which signals your brain it’s time for sleep. Munch on a small handful of almonds and walnuts before bed, but make sure they’re not blanketed in sugary yoghurt or candy coatings.
Tart cherries are another food to help you sleep, for like walnuts and almonds, they’re also loaded with sleepy-time compound melatonin. They’re a good night-time snack option because they’re so versatile. You can eat them fresh or drink 100% cherry juice, or, perhaps even better, make the perfect bed-time snack with walnuts, almonds, and dried cherries (without added sugar).
Is there anything the humble banana can’t do? Apparently, they really are the world’s most perfect food, since they’re another of the foods to help you sleep. How? They contain melatonin and tryptophan to prepare you for sleep, as well as magnesium and potassium to relax your muscles. They’re also sweet and delicious, and so gentle that even small children can eat them.
5. Chamomile Tea
The calming effects of chamomile tea are well-known. First, because it’s served hot, it helps raise your body temperature, which helps you relax. Second, because it’s not actually tea, it doesn’t contain caffeine. Third, chamomile is actually a mild sedative. Wow!
6. Whole-grain Cereal or Toast
Like bananas, whole grains are loaded with muscle-relaxing magnesium, but they also contain fiber, to help you feel fuller, longer, which means you won’t wake up hungry at 3 in the morning. So don’t feel guilty when you indulge in a small bowl of whole-grain cereal before bed, or a couple of pieces of whole-grain toast. Just make sure you don’t pile on sugar in the form of kiddie cereal or jam on your toast.
7. Greek Yoghurt
Like milk, Greek yoghurt contains tryptophan, though that’s not why it’s among the foods to help you sleep. It also contains calcium, which has been shown to help you de-stress and prepare for sleep. Unlike traditional yoghurt, though, Greek yoghurt contains a lot less lactose, less sugar, and more protein, so you get more (very quiet) bang for your bed-time buck.
With so many foods to help you sleep, you might never have a sleepless night again! I swear by the warm milk toddy and the cherries, but which of these foods that help you sleep have you actually tried, and how did they work? Or is there another food or drink that makes you relaxed and ready for bed?
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