5 Foods to Help You Sleep Better

5 Foods That Will Help You Sleep Better

It is common knowledge that processed food and food high in added sugars can affect our ability to get quality sleep. So what food should we be eating?

Here are 5 food groups that we think will help you sleep better:

1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid that causes sleepiness. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruit are your best choice for inducing sleep.

The timing for eating your carbohydrates may also play a part in your ability to fall asleep. According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1), eating easily digested carbohydrates four hours before bedtime led people to fall asleep faster, whereas eating them one hour before sleep increased this time. So avoid that midnight snack and instead add high GI foods such as potatoes, jasmine rice or even honey to your dinner.

2. Fish

Some key nutrients in food help the body make melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles. Fish, especially salmon and tuna, boast high levels of vitamin B6 which helps to make melatonin.

3. Dairy

Calcium is also associated with stimulating melatonin production. Dairy products high in calcium, such as yogurt and milk, are shown to have a relaxing effect on the body. Like carbohydrates, milk also contains the amino acid tryptophan. So a glass of warm milk might be the tonic you need before bed.

4. Bananas & Kiwifruit

Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, are a good source of Vitamin B6 needed to make melatonin, and they also contain tryptophan. It takes about an hour for tryptophan to reach the brain, so bananas are a good dessert or late night snack option.

Kiwifruit have high antioxidant levels and high serotonin levels. Researchers at Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University studied the effects of kiwifruit consumption on sleep. They found that eating kiwifruit on a daily basis was linked to substantial improvements to both sleep quality and sleep quantity.

5. Cherries

Cherries are one of the very few foods that contain melatonin. Drinking tart cherry juice or taking a natural cherry supplement has been found to be beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality. Research has also shown that when cherries are dried into a powder the levels of melatonin increases significantly.

Remember, eating a large meal before bed is a bad idea, in fact it is best to avoid food for three hours before bed. If you’re hungry snack on a kiwifruit or banana and have a glass of warm milk!

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