6 Foods that Promote Better Sleep

Getting adequate, high-quality sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s not enough to sleep in on weekends or while you’re on vacation.  Your body requires a regular, consistent sleep pattern for you to feel and be at your best.

One surprising way you can help maintain your healthy sleep routine is through food. We all know it’s important to avoid sugar, caffeine and greasy items but some foods actually help support your body’s natural sleep cycle.  Try incorporating more of these foods into your diet to make sleep a central part of your healthy lifestyle.

Complex carbohydrates.  While white bread, pasta and other refined carbohydrates lower serotonin levels, foods made with whole grains help keep them stable.  Choose popcorn, whole wheat crackers or a warm bowl of oatmeal as a nighttime snack to keep your serotonin levels up before bed.

Almonds and walnuts.  These heart-healthy nuts contain melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in your body’s natural sleep/wake rhythm.  A handful of almonds or walnuts provides your body with a melatonin boost that will make it easier to fall asleep when it’s time for bed.

Cottage cheese.  All lean protein sources, including cottage cheese, are good sources of tryptophan, which is a hormone that has been shown to increase serotonin levels.  To increase tryptophan in your diet, you might also try eating more poultry, especially turkey, which provides a healthy dose of this sleep-inducing chemical.

Fruit.  Significant levels of melatonin are found in fruits like bananas, tart cherries and pineapple, along with other antioxidants that may contribute to a healthy sleep cycle.  Kiwis contain serotonin as well and have been proven to increase sleep duration by one hour over the course of a month.

Fish.  The benefits of fish for sleep include high levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have been associated with serotonin production.  Even a few ounces of fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel in the evening may help you fall asleep faster.

Milk.  Like cottage cheese, milk is an excellent source of tryptophan. There is also a significant psychological effect that a glass of warm milk has for many people, which can help you feel calm and relaxed at bedtime.

Kevin Arnold

Kevin Arnold writes about health, wellness and travel.  For more tips and information, check out all of his posts at www.pureroom.com/blog

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