Knowing what to eat before bed can help you achieve a blissful night of sleep. Some foods are better than others in lulling you into a deep, restful sleep. Getting a good, quality sleep is beneficial to overall health. It can help reduce your risk of developing a chronic illness, boost your immune system as well as improve your digestive system and brain health.
The recommended amount of sleep to get per night is 7 to 9 hours. Many people though who suffer from insominia and other sleep disorders struggle to get this amount. It is important to establish good sleeping habits and have a regular sleep routine.
Top Foods For Sleep
Almonds – Almonds contain not only antioxidants but also fiber and monosaturated fat that helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease if eaten on a regular basis. Just one ounce of almonds contains 32% of manganese, 17% of riboflavin and !4% for phosphorus.
Almonds and other types of nuts contain the melatonin which is a sleep regulating hormone. The magnesium found in almonds also help improve sleep. An ounce of almonds contain 19% of the daiy recommended amount. Magnesium works to reduce inflammation and stress. It is also said to reduce cortisol levels which can interrupt sleep.
Research on sleep and almonds is sparse though one study done with rats consuming 400 mg of almond extract found the rats slept longer and deeper than without the almond extract.
So if you find yourself hungry before bed go ahead and grab a handful of almonds. Not only are almonds heart healthy but they can also help you get better sleep.
Kiwis – Kiwis are low in calroies and packs a punch in nutritional value. Just one medium kiwi has 117% of vitamin C and 38% of vitamin K. With the high amount of fiber and carotenoid antioxidants kiwis lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
The serotonin found in kiwi promotes better quality sleep. Serotonin is a chemical found in the brain responsible for regulating sleep cycles. The vitamin C and carotenoids help with sleep by reducing inflammation.
In a four week study of 24 adults, 42% fell asleep faster after eating two kiwis prior to bedtime. Total sleep was found to be increased by 13% and the participant’s abilty to stay asleep longer saw an improvement of 5%.
Try eating one or two medium sized kiwis before bed to stay asleep longer and to fall asleep quicker.
Fatty Fish – Eating fish such as tuna, trout, salmon and mackeral are very good for your health. Fatty fish is a good source of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. Omega 3- fatty acids are good for reducing inflammation, brain health and protecting against heart disease.
Both omega-3 fatty aicds and vitamin D contain serotonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycles.
In a six month study men ate 300 grams of salmon three times a week. Those men who ate salmon vs chicken, pork or beef fell asleep about 10 minutes faster. This improvement was due to the increased intake of vitamin D.
Before bed consider eatinga few ounces of fatty fish to sleep more deeply and fall asleep faster.
Walnuts – Walnuts is another type of nut that boosts manu nutrietants. In an one ounce of serving these nuts contain 2 grams of fiber, over 19 vitamins and minerals. Walnuts also are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid. Per ounce they contain four grams of protein which can help aid in reducing appetite.
Walnuts have been studied for their ability to improve heart health and reduce high cholesterol level.s
The melatonin found in walnuts along with the fatty acids can improve sleep quality. There is not a lot of evidence indicating that walnuts are indeed helpful with sleep as no scientifiic studies have been done.
If you are having trouble falling asleep eating a handful of walnuts could help considering they contain omega 3 fatty acids and melatonin, the sleep regulating hormone.
White rice – This grain food is a main staple in many countries. White rice has had its germ and bran removed which results in lowe amount of antioxidants, fiber and nutrients. White rice does contain some vitamins and minerals. In a 35 ounce serving,14% of your daily needs for folate is met, 24% for manganese and 11% for thiamin.
Eating white rice before bed can help improve the quality of your sleep due to its high glycemic index. The high glycemic index measures how fast a food increases blood sugar.
In a study of 1,848 people consumed bread, noodles or white rice. The ones who consumed the white rice were found to have better sleep including sleeping longer. It was also found that eating white rice one hour before bed was most effective in improving sleep.
Cottage cheese – This lean proten food is packed full of amino acid tryptophan, which could raise serotonin levels. Low levels of serotonin could result in poor sleep and insomnia. Not only is cottage cheese good for sleep but it also is an excellent source of calcium. It helps in regulating blood pressure.
Cottage cheese can help increase energy. In a 2005 study children who ate more dairy such as milk and cottage cheese had more energy. In a British study it was shown that men who ate more cottage cheese decreased their chances of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a number of conditions that includes high blood sugar levels. Some studies show that eating cottage cheese in a diet with fruits, vetables and whole grains can help promote weight loss.
One cup of calcium has 18% of the daily recommended amount of calcium, 6% for vitamin A and 4% for magnesium along with 25g of protein.
Eat a cup of cottage cheese before you go to sleep and try adding some raspberries. The raspberries will give you the added benefit of melatonin.
Herbal teas – Drinking a cup of your favorite herbal tea before bed is a good way to unwind from the day. A couple teas you can try are passionflower tea and chamomile tea. Passionflower tea is packed full of flavonoid antioxidants. These antioxicants are known to help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Studies have been shown that passionflower tea can reduce anxiety. Drinking this tea can give a calming effect due to the amount of apigenin. Apigenin is a antioxidant that binds to the receptors of your brain resulting in a calming effect.
Passionflower tea is known to boost the production of GABA , a chemical in the brain that blocks other chemicals that produce stress, like glutamate .
Another herbal tea that is popular is chamomile tea. This tea has a lot of health benefits with the amount of antioxidants and flavones it contains. Drinking chamomile tea can help in reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, improve the health of your skin, help with depression and anxiety, as well as improve the quality of your sleep.
Chamomile tea contains apigenin, which is an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in the brain to reduce insomnia and promote sleepiness.
One study of 34 adults consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract two times a day for 28 days, were found to have wakened less during the night and fell asleep faster by 15 minutes.
In another study of women drinking chamomile tea for two weeks, it was revealed that sleep quality was improved over the non tea drinkers.
In the studies of chamomile tea it was also noted that those who drank the tea experienced less depression, which has been a factor in sleep problems.
If you are wanting a drink before bed reach for a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or passionflower to help calm and relax you before going to sleep.
Milk – Drinking a glass of milk before bed may help put you to sleep from its ingredients of tryptopha and melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for sleep and wake cycles of the body. Tryptopha is an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin, a chemical found in the brain that induces deep sleep. Milk is also a good source of calcium. Consuming the right amount of calcium can help a person stay asleep.
Milk is rich in nutrients with one glass having 30% calcium, 2% vitamin A, 6% magnesium and 8g of protein.
A 2009 study of 29 healthy elderly people done by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found improved sleep and less waking incidents. In the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, a study shown that drinking milk helped older people to sleep more soundly.
Pour yourself a glass of milk to help yourself drift off to sleep faster. If you are hungry try a light snack of almonds or a piece of fruit such as a kiwi.
Other foods that are beneficial in helping to promote sleep are bananas, crackers, oatmeal, pineapple and oranges.
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