10 Foods That Help You Sleep Better

Jyotsna January 8, 2012 0

Insomnia i.e. sleeplessness is the common problem reported by most of the people. Some toss around throughout the night while some have problem only to get in to sleep. If you are trying hard to get sound sleep at nights then this article is for you. It will teach you how to sleep better. Minor modifications in dietary habits can solve your problem very easily. Here is a list of foods that help you sleep better at nights, homemade remedies for insomnia.

  1. Have Dairy products before going to bed

Foods such as dairy products and turkey are rich in the amino acid tryptophan which helps to boost blood levels of serotonin and melatonin. Increased levels of serotonin and melatonin help in getting good sleep. Though turkey is rich in tryptophan it is not recommended to have at nights as you will find it tough to sleep with a heavy stomach. Hence, have dairy products such as milk and yoghurt before going to bed. An added advantage of having dairy products is that they are rich in calcium, the mineral which promotes the usage of tryptophan for forming melatonin. If you wish to have yoghurt, make sure to have only low-fat yoghurt for easy digestion and also to avoid the risk of obesity. A glass of lukewarm milk before going to bed will be very relaxing and also helps you to sleep better.

  1. Include oats in your evening snack

Oats are good source for melatonin and tryptophan which aid in getting better sleep. They are also rich in magnesium and calcium both of which also help in getting good quality sleep. If you do not love to have dairy products then have a small bowl of warm oats porridge before going to bed. To make it even more effective add fruit toppings such as bananas and cherries.

  1. Have Bananas

Bananas are rich in minerals magnesium and potassium that give relief from muscle spasms by relaxing the muscles. It is also rich in tryptophan which aids in promoting night sleep. Thus, it is highly recommended for people who are unable to sleep tight at night due to muscle spasms to have banana before going to bed. It is also a best snack to have after heavy workout.

  1. Try cherries and nuts

Cherries and nuts are rich in melatonin and hence, they also help in treating insomnia. The combination of oat porridge with banana, nuts and cherries is an excellent natural way to obtain melatonin and cure insomnia.

  1. Try flax seeds to overcome stress induced insomnia

Conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression are the major causes for insomnia in many people. People suffering with insomnia due to stress can sleep well by having flax seeds. High levels of omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan present in flax seeds help in boosting the blood levels of serotonin, the sleep regulating compound. Omega-3-fatty acids and magnesium also help in overcoming the stress, depression and anxiety. Magnesium also exerts relaxing effect on nervous system and muscles. It also helps to overcome night terrors. Thus, flax seeds help in getting sleep by treating the conditions responsible for insomnia. You can add flax seed powder to a salad or a smoothie.

  1. Consider eating fatty fish at dinner

If you love to eat fish then consider eating fatty fish such as mackerel and sardine that are rich in omega-3-fatty acids. Increased intake of these fatty acids promotes the tryptophan levels of the body which in turn boosts the levels of sleep regulating compound melatonin. DHA present in sardines increases the level of melatonin which promotes sleep.

  1. Eat Vitamin B rich foods to regulate sleep cycle

Vitamin B plays vital role in regulating the metabolic activities of the body. Vitamins B6, folic acid and B12 promote the production of serotonin and thus, play role in regulating the sleep cycle. Intake of vitamin B rich foods such as beans and legumes not only promotes sleep but also the overall health which paves way for better regulation of sleep cycle.

  1. Include Iron rich foods to overcome restless legs syndrome

Few people have disturbed sleep due to restless legs syndrome. Such people can sleep well by having iron rich foods such as spinach. Iron treats the restless legs syndrome effectively.

  1. Increase the intake of carbohydrate rich foods

Another alternative for dairy products to boost the blood levels of tryptophan is to have carbohydrate rich foods such as cereals, bread and cheese. Increased intake of carbohydrate rich foods stimulates the secretion of the hormone insulin that plays role in regulating the blood sugar levels. This hormone also plays role in eliminating all the amino acids except the tryptophan from blood. As a result, tryptophan alone reaches the blood which in turn increases the level of the sleep regulating hormone melatonin and also the serotonin that calms down the nervous system. Just make sure that the carbohydrate rich foods are not rich in proteins. Protein rich foods increase the levels of amino acid tyrosine that disturbs the sleep cycle by activating the nerves of the brain. They even exert load on the digestive system which may force you to take multiple trips to bathroom and hence, disturbed sleep.

  1. Have a bowl of cereal before bedtime

If you worked until late night then consider having snacks such as a bowl of cereals with low fat milk or crackers mixed with yoghurt. These foods not only help in regulating the sleep cycle but also make you fit to work again early in the morning. Just make sure not to have heavy meal like pizza, burger and fries as a late night snack as they activate the digestive system. Choose only easy to digest foods and keep it small. The total number of calories should not be more than 200 calories. If you are not sure of the number of calories try reading the labels of the food items before having them.

Apart from including the mentioned foods in your diet it is essential to avoid having certain foods before going to bed. Avoid protein rich and hard to digest foods before going to bed so as to let the body systems work less and relax more to pave way for new cell generation. Do not relax yourself with a cigarette or a cup of coffee and other caffeine rich products before bedtime. They contain components that disturb the sleep cycle by activating the nervous system. The worst part is the effect lasts for about six to eight hours.

Finally, to enjoy good night sleep avoid sleeping with an empty stomach and having water before going to bed. Eat balanced nutritious food to sleep well and enjoy good health. If you cannot obtain relief with these simple dietary changes consider visiting your physician to identify the underlying cause as prolonged insomnia can lead to other health disorders.

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