These Foods Could Help You Sleep
Here’s some food for thought, did you know there are specific foods which can induce sleep? If counting sheep isn’t your thing and you prefer a midnight snack (that’s a figure of speech, we recommend you leave two to three between snacking and bed!), then carry on reading to find out the do’s and don’ts for those sleep-inducing snacks.
Foods which contain high traces of the amino acid tryptophan, such as cherries, milk, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and yoghurt (consumed at any time daily) or foods with a high glycaemic index such as short-grain rice (consumed three to four hours before bedtime) can help induce sleep.
Tryptophan has a calming effect on the brain, which makes it easier to fall asleep. Once elevated levels of tryptophan reach the brain, it is converted to melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone which is released at night time; the “body clock” hormone helps to set your sleep-wake cycles.
Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan. Not only are they a source of tryptophan, but research conducted by researchers at the University of Texas found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, therefore helping to induce sleep faster.
Rich in magnesium, a mineral imperative for quality sleep, almonds are also great for inducing sleep. In a study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, it was found that low levels of magnesium make it harder to stay asleep.
Calcium can trigger the brain to use the tryptophan found in dairy to produce sleep-triggering melatonin. The old wives’ tales might well suggest warm milk before sleep, but the truth is any dairy product can help.
Bananas are yet another natural source of tryptophan. Rich in high levels of magnesium and potassium, bananas can relax muscles in preparation for a night of quality sleep. As well as bananas, tart cherries are another fruit with natural sources of tryptophan. A study found that drinking cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by 90 minutes among adults with insomnia.