Are you having trouble sleeping? This could be a direct result of your diet. Certain foods can aid in a full night’s sleep. Beyond consumption of particular foods, such as stimulants, certain health problems caused by your diet may cause a loss of sleep. Some of these health problems include obesity, high-blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and more. Sleepiness can cause you to eat unhealthily when trying to achieve a ‘pick me up’. Try out these foods to avoid needing a pick me up such as energy drinks, sugary snacks or coffee.
Foods That Help You Sleep
Fish contains vitamin B6, which is used in making melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone in the body that is triggered by darkness. Most fish has vitamin B6, especially salmon, tuna and halibut. Along with this beneficial vitamin, most fish contains selenium. Selenium is thought to perhaps aid in hypothyroidism, but definitely acts as a sleep aid. It is a natural found mineral that’s present in some foods and water that plays a key role in the metabolism.
Yogurt and most dairy products alike contain healthy doses of calcium. Calcium deficiency may make it difficult to sleep, so grab a cup of low-sugar yogurt and enjoy a night of sleep. Yogurt also contains casein, which is a slow release protein, which will help your muscles to recover as you sleep if you’ve been training.
We all know bananas are rich in, you guessed it, potassium! Bananas are also a good source for vitamin B6, just like fish. So if you’re a non-seafood eater then try bananas.
This may seem a bit bizarre because cereal is what we use to fuel ourselves for the day with when we’ve just woken up. If you eat fortified cereals, not your sugar loaded big box cereals, then you will add a source of vitamin B6 to your diet. Try a small bowl of Cheerios before bed. The cereal and dairy (milk) will combine for a blast of vitamin B6 and calcium.
✓ Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice happens to be rich in melatonin. Studies in adults with chronic insomnia were given a glass of tart cherry juice. There was a direct correlation to the increase of sleep and decline of insomnia symptoms when subjects were given tart cherry juice.
Much like dairy products, kale is also a food rich in calcium. This is a perfect replacement for those that are lactose intolerant. Try mixing kale into a salad or a smoothie to ingest your daily dose of calcium.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which can aid in the production of melatonin. Other foods containing lycopene include grapefruit, papaya and watermelon. Lycopene is also considered a cancer-fighting agent, so even if you don’t get the sleep that you’re looking for, you’ll be doing your body a lot of good in other ways.
Ingredients To Avoid Before Bed
One of the simplest ways to begin your journey to a better night’s sleep is to cut back on caffeine. Caffeine changes the chemistry of the brain; it actually blocks the natural brain chemical that is associated with sleep. It is a central nervous stimulant that wakes up the body. Caffeine begins its effects within 15 minutes and lasts for 4-6 hours. A tolerance can be built up to caffeine, causing you to need more to feel awake. Once this addiction sets in, it is more difficult to wean yourself off. Begin weaning yourself off by lowering daily consumption of certain coffee, tea, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sodas. There is also caffeine in chocolate, so don’t substitute a coffee for a piece of candy or dessert containing chocolate. Be sure to consume your last dose of caffeine at least 6 hours before intended sleep. If you quit consumption all at once, you will experience withdrawal feelings such as headaches and irritability, among other symptoms. Allotting yourself some time to decline your daily intake will make the process much easier.
Other than caffeine, a major contributor to a sleepless night is sugar consumption. Sugar is as much of an addiction as caffeine is. If you eat sweets after your dinner at night, your body will become addicted to the craving of a sugary snack. When you eat sugar your brain releases endorphins. The addiction is physiological and affects systems in your body that are affected the same way as drugs like heroin and morphine. You can hypothetically get high on sugar. Beyond a sleepless night, sugar can cause weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease and a higher risk for certain cancers. It is worth cutting down on sugar consumption for multiple reasons and to think practically of certain foods. An example of this is that sodas were not meant to be drank multiple times a day, they were used as a treat or dessert a few times a week. Sugar free foods taste similar and are much more beneficial in the long run.
Take Home Message
If you’re having trouble sleeping these foods may aid in a better night’s rest. Certain deficiencies in your diet can cause health problems that can decline and disrupt your ability to sleep. Ingesting certain vitamins and minerals will allow your body to achieve a balance for the chemicals it requires to shut down your mind at night. Give these a try to achieve a full night’s rest!