OK, so if turkey and milk aren’t surefire solutions, what the heck can you eat to lull yourself into a sweet slumber? Here’s what you need to know about the best foods for sleep.
Strange as it sounds, drink some tart cherry juice before bed. Tart cherries contain significant amounts of anti-inflammatory substances and melatonin. One pilot study found that drinking tart cherry juice may improve the sleep in insomniacs, while another study found that they could even benefit already good sleepers (you lucky dogs, you). If you’re looking to indulge, opt for a juice without any added sugar like the options from R.W. Knudsen, Stoneridge Orchards, or Eden Organic.
While most nutrition recommendations urge you to cut back on the high-glycemic index (GI) carbs, restless nights may warrant a legit exception. White rice, like jasmine, is higher on the GI scale, triggering a release of insulin which drives the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan into the brain.
One study found that consuming jasmine rice within four hours of bedtime helped significantly improve sleep quality for participants. Make sure you’re enjoying your rice with a source of protein and without too much soy sauce or other sodium-laden condiments to prevent you from chugging down water before bed and getting up to pee all night long. Sushi date, anyone?
Packed with vitamins C, E, folate, and the happy-happy brain chemical, serotonin, kiwis are a surprisingly powerful bedtime fruit. One study found that four weeks of eating kiwi two times per day improved the sleep onset, duration, and efficiency of adults with sleep disturbances.
If you’re more a fan of sweet than sour, try switching the classic greens with the Sungold variety, which have a flavor somewhere between a mango and strawberry.
PistachiosKnown as the nut with the most melatonin for sleepers struggling with an anxious mind, a modest ounce of pistachios also contains about 10 percent of your daily magnesium needs to help ease any physical tension too.
One study found that supplementing with the natural muscle relaxant, magnesium, improved the sleep time, efficiency, and levels of melatonin in elderly participants. We love the No Salt Wonderful Pistachios flavor for a low-sodium mindful bedtime snack.
It wouldn’t be a nutrition article if we weren’t singing the praises of omega-3s somewhere. As if you need another reason to up your fish game, research suggests it may help your bedtime routine too. One study found that taking an omega-3 supplement helped children get an extra hour of sleep each night. Not sure where to start? We love all of these seven simple salmon recipes you can’t screw up.
Vegans know how to get a good night’s sleep. As the richest source of the plant-derived compounds isoflavones, tofu makes for some serious bedtime eats. One cross-sectional Japanese study found that people with higher intakes of isoflavones tended to report longer and better sleep. For an easier-to-digest vegan meal, opt for a sprouted tofu product like the one from Sol Cuisine or Trader Joe’s.
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