Falling asleep is not always easy. Sometimes it happens fast, sometimes you toss and turn for hours. You try the obvious like keeping your bedroom dark and cool, using few drops of lavender on your pillow and curbing the caffeine intake. But there is one more thing you can do and it is pretty tasty too. What you eat for dinner or right before going to bed can, in fact, help you fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night. So here are our favorite bedtime foods and why they work.
First, never go to bed hungry.
Hunger keeps your brain alert, which means it doesn’t have a chance to recuperate the way it normally would during sleep. So opt for a light snack in the name of deep restful sleep. It is worth the calories.
Limit the alcohol
It metabolizes quickly in your system and causes you to wake up multiple times during the night. Alcohol helps you to fall asleep faster but it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is considered the most restorative sleep. So if you want to enjoy a glass of something in the evening (and who doesn't), make sure you do it at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Another option is to have a non-alcoholic drink. Like a herbal tea, a virgin cocktail or a raspberry limeade.
Tart cherry juice contains the amino acid tryptophan, which transforms into serotonin and then melatonin in your body (melatonin is a hormone that affects your sleep and wake cycles). A study reports that drinking a glass of tart cherry juice before bed adds an extra 20 min of sleep and it improves the overall sleep quality. Another alternative are raspberries. Although they don’t contain quite as much melatonin as cherries do, they are still a good food to eat before bed because they up your sleepiness level.
They taste so good and they contain magnesium which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. So add an avocado to your dinner or simply cut one in half, sprinkle some salt and eat it with a spoon.
Fish, like cod, tuna, and halibut are high in tryptophan. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel can also add sleep-aiding magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. So salmon for dinner anyone?
They are very rich on the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. They’re also carbs which will help make you sleepy as well. So if hunger strikes you right before going to bed, have a banana.
Oranges and Citrus Fruits
They are high in vitamin C which is essential for maintaining normal levels of antioxidants in the brain, which usually go down due to lack of sleep. So they might not necessarily help you fall asleep but they definitely will help you if you are sleep deprived and most of us are.
In a four-week study, 24 adults consumed two kiwifruits one hour before going to bed each night. At the end of the study, participants fell asleep 42% more quickly than when they didn’t eat anything before bedtime. The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are due to their content of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Not to mention they are low calorie and high on a lot of vitamins and minerals making them a great snack before bed.
They contain melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep patterns. The amount of melatonin that can be found in walnuts is anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 nanograms. The average adult needs around 1 to 5 grams of melatonin daily to help produce the amount of melatonin that will increase your drowsiness. So when you feel peckish right before bed, just have a handful of raw walnuts.