7 foods that can help you sleep

Almonds help you sleepDo you have trouble falling asleep? I have a hard time shutting off my brain and drifting off at night. Knowing that I may have difficulties going to sleep, I stay up later than I should. Or, maybe you can’t stay asleep. My husband often wakes up early in the morning and then can’t fall back to sleep.

There are so many health benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, we wrote a blog about the many reasons why you should get more sleep.

You may also need to take a closer look at what you eat before you go to bed. Your choice of a late night snack can make the difference between lying awake at night or getting a deep, healthy sleep.

Here are 7 foods that are recommended to help you get a better night’s sleep:

Almonds
Almonds contain magnesium that relaxes your muscles. They supply protein which can help maintain a steady blood sugar level while you’re sleeping. Almonds also promote sleep by switching you from your more alert adrenaline cycle to a sleep and digest cycle.

Decaf Tea
Chamomile tea is great for relaxation and helping you sleep. The herb alleviates anxiety and promotes relaxation. Green tea, as long as it’s the decaffeinated variety, contains theanine which helps promote sleep. So, have a relaxing cup of tea a few hours before bed.

Cherries
Cherries, and in particular tart cherries, naturally boost the body’s supply of melatonin. This chemical controls the body’s internal clock to regulate your sleep. You can eat fresh cherries when they are in season, sip cherry juice or snack on dried or frozen cherries.

Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that triggers a rise in blood sugar. This rise triggers insulin production and releases sleep inducing chemicals in your brain. Oats also contain minerals, vitamin B6 and melatonin, which help prevent stress and promote sleep.

Bananas
Bananas are a great source of magnesium and potassium – both of which help you relax your muscles. They also contain tryptophan which converts to serotonin and melatonin to help calm the brain.

Dairy
Yogurt, milk and cheese also contain tryptophan. In addition, the calcium in dairy products can help relieve stress and and allow you to stop worrying as you try to fall asleep. So, a glass of milk before bed may actually help you sleep. Cottage cheese contains digesting proteins which may also keep your digestive system relaxed all night long.

Toast
You can have a piece of toast to go with your dairy snack. Toast is warm, comforting and filling. It also can help you sleep because it triggers insulin production, which in turn releases tryptophan and serotonin. And, we know both of these chemicals promote relaxation and help alleviate anxiety.

Here are few things to keep in mind as you have a late night snack:

• Eat your snack at least an hour before bedtime

• Avoid large meals late in the day which may stir up your digestive system. You may also want to avoid spicy foods that can give you heartburn or indigestion when you lie down to sleep.

• Cut out fluids a couple hours before bed – you will be less likely to need a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

• Beware of caffeine. You may want to cut out all caffeine four to six hours before bedtime.

• Skip the nightcap – alcohol can interfere with your sleep. Having a drink before bed may help you fall asleep, but it may make you restless during the night.

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may want to try snacking on the foods above before bed. You can also check out the blog 11 tips to getting a good night’s sleep. Do you have your own tricks to help you sleep?

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