Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for regulating your hormonal balance, regaining energy, and improving brain functions throughout the day. Furthermore, sleeping well can reduce the long-term risk of chronic illnesses while strengthening the immune system.
Studies published in Sleep Health say that you should ideally get between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Unfortunately, though, a large number of Americans are struggling with sleep problems such as insomnia or anxiety.
Luckily, though, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep quality and most of them include adopting diet habits.
9 Best Foods and Drinks to Sleep Better
This type of nut is a valuable source of nutrients that improve your immunity and regulate your sleep schedule.
Think about it: a single ounce (28 grams) of dry roasted nuts provides you with 18% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) for phosphorus, 23% for riboflavin, and a whopping 25% of the daily manganese requirements.
Almonds also contain plenty of monosaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants which strengthen your immunity and help you to keep disease at bay.
However, one of the most surprising treats offered by almonds is melatonin. This hormone is responsible for regulating your internal clock, which tells your body when it should sleep and when it should be active.
Additionally, these nuts offer 19% of the RDI for magnesium. Data from the National Institutes of Health says that meeting your physical needs for magnesium daily can improve overall sleep quality and might even reduce insomnia.
Looking forward to Thanksgiving? If you’re a turkey enthusiast, know that this food also possesses the magical property of improving your sleep and regulating your appetite.
Just one ounce of turkey (28 grams) offers 8 grams of protein, also known as the building block for muscle growth and repair. Enjoy a 3-ounce serving and you’ll also meet 56% of your recommended daily intake for selenium, a valuable nutrient that strengthens your immunity.
But what about sleep? Well, this 2014 study published in Sports Medicine shows that turkey is especially rich in tryptophan – an amino acid that boosts the production of melatonin.
Since turkey contains so much protein, it can also promote tiredness and satiety – both of which are essential for getting a good night’s sleep. This study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition showed that consuming turkey in moderate quantities for dinner is linked to better sleep quality and less waking throughout the night.
If you’re looking for new beverages, why not try something that’s both healthy and tasty?
Yes, I’m recommending chamomile tea. This herb is extremely rich in flavones, a group of antioxidants known for reducing inflammation and diminishing the long-term risk for chronic illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
Additionally, this study from Molecular Medicine Report says that drinking chamomile tea strengthens your immune system, reduces anxiety, and may even improve your skin health and appearance.
However, one of the most valuable properties of this herb is the apigenin it contains. Apigenin is an antioxidant that can bind to brain receptors responsible for inducing sleepiness and reducing insomnia – and its effects are scientifically proven!
During a 2011 study published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, researchers looked at 34 healthy adults; some were given 270 mg of chamomile extract twice a day for 28 days, while others went tea-free. Turns out, participants who consumed chamomile fell asleep 15 minutes faster and reported considerably fewer nighttime wakening compared to the other group.
Exotic, flavored, and sleep-inducing – who wouldn’t want to enjoy kiwis?
First of all, this colorful fruit is extremely low in calories so it fits most diets out there. More precisely, a single kiwi contains 42 calories while being packed with valuable nutrients including 71% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Furthermore, green fruit is surprisingly rich in vitamin K, folate, and potassium.
Studies from the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology also claim that kiwi improves digestive functions, reduces inflammation, and may even lower cholesterol levels (thank you, antioxidants!).
Need any more reasons to enjoy kiwi before bed? They also help you sleep better.
This 4-week study involved 24 adults who had to consume two kiwifruits one hour before going to sleep every day. By the end of the trial period, all participants reported falling asleep 42% more quickly than before consuming the fruit. Furthermore, their total sleep time increased by 13% while reducing their nighttime waking by 5%.
All of these positive effects are due to serotonin. Also called the ‘feel-good hormone,’ this brain chemical is crucial for regulating your internal clock and helping you sleep more and better.
Are you looking for some delicious fruits to help you reach your goals? Give this fruit basket a try, because everything in there is delicious! PS: It also includes kiwis, so you’ll get your Zzzs in!
Turkey may be delicious, but we can’t eat it every day just to sleep better, right?
One of the best alternatives that offer a similar effect is fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, or mackerel. The one thing they have in common? Vitamin D.
Just a 3-ounce (85 grams) serving of salmon contains 570 IU (International Units) of vitamin D, which is 71% of your Daily Value (DV). Similarly, one serving of farmed rainbow trout provides you with 81% of your DV.
Fatty fish are also among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both of these acids are known for reducing inflammation and preventing long-term risks for heart disease.
Both Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids boost the production of serotonin; as we already know, this hormone is crucial in order to sleep better and reduce the risks of insomnia.
During this study, participants who ate 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of Atlantic salmon three days a week for 6 months reported falling asleep 10 minutes faster than those who ate other types of meat. Researchers believe that these positive results are brought by vitamin D, an essential micronutrient for improving sleep quality.
Now back to healthy beverages: passionflower is a herb long used for treating and preventing many illnesses and infections.
First of all, it’s an extraordinary source of flavonoid antioxidants. As I mentioned earlier, this group is renowned for reducing inflammation, reducing health disease risks, and boosting your immunity.
Secondly, drinking passionfruit tea can reduce anxiety due to its high amount of apigenin – an antioxidant that binds to brain receptors which can promote calmness.
Studies published in NeuroImage Clinic also proved that passionflower increases the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that reduces stress and promotes sleepiness.
Other effective foods and drinks
Did you know that many of the foods and beverages you’re already consuming can improve your sleep quality? Here are some of the best options:
- Remember when our parents gave us a glass of milk every night before bed? That’s because dairy products are rich in tryptophan, which is known for helping you sleep better.
- This yellow fruit contains magnesium, which may regulate sleep schedule, while its peel is rich in tryptophan. You can use the peel to make tea and sweeten it with honey, another powerful source of antioxidants.
- Aside from offering satiety, oatmeal also contains considerable amounts of melatonin and fiber which improve sleep quality, prevent insomnia, and keep you full until morning.
What are you doing when you can’t fall asleep? Share your tips in the comment section and let’s keep our minds and bodies healthy! Your health is important, so if you need any other tips on how to improve your life, here’s another good article for you: 10 Healthy Beverages You Should Drink Everyday!