A little more than 50 million Americans don’t get enough sleep, at least according to the amount recommended by physicians. Anywhere from six to eight hours of sleep each and every night is needed in order for sleep to be effective in repairing both the body and the mind. In fact, the health benefits of a good night’s sleep are countless. Sleep is responsible for overall mood, cell regeneration, cognitive function, healthy hair and skin, as well as a strong immune system.
Now, a lack of sleep can come from a number of different things, but usually occurs due to an imbalance within the body. Whether you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, what you’re putting into your body—or not as the case may be—could be the simplest solution to help you get some much needed rest. If you’ve turned off your cell phone at least an hour before bed, or anything else that gives off artificial light such as your tablet or television, and you still can’t sleep, changing up the way you eat may be the way to go. Food serves a variety of purposes in our lives other than keeping us from starving and giving us energy, the nutrients found in foods help us strengthen muscles, provide us with needed vitamins, and when consuming the right ones, they also help us to sleep. Here’s a short list of foods that can help you fall asleep and stay that way each and every night.
Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan; you may know the name as it’s predominantly spoken of in reference to the sleepiness brought on by Thanksgiving turkey. Tryptophan is a sleep inducing amino acid that helps flood the body with serotonin and melatonin. These hormones are responsible for setting the body’s sleep-wake cycle in motion. Almonds are filled with large amounts of magnesium, which is the main mineral needed for sufficient sleep. When magnesium levels are lower than they should be, sleeping and staying asleep can be made all the more difficult.
Fish such as tuna, halibut, and salmon have naturally high levels of the vitamin B6. The body needs this vitamin in abundance in order to properly make melatonin and serotonin. So, loading up on these types of fish can help you drift off to sleep, especially if you eat them regularly and close to the time in which you’d like to fall asleep.
This fruit is well-known for being rich in potassium, however the brightly colored fruit is also a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin.
Caffein Free Tea
Chamomile tea has been known to be a natural remedy for insomnia for centuries. According to studies, drinking this type of tea is boosts the body’s amount of glycine which is a chemical that helps to slowly relax the nerves and muscles and is known to act like a mild sedative. Passionfruit tea up to one hour before bed is also proven to help you fall asleep as it has naturally occurring Harman alkaloids within it; these are chemicals that act on the nervous system, sending it signals to slow down, allowing you to be relaxed and drift off to sleep.
Chickpeas are packed full of vitamin B6, which is required in large amounts within the body in order to make melatonin. They can be eaten as an easy to grab, on the go snack, or ground up to make a nice hummus dip that you can indulge in before bed, all while knowing you’re eating healthy and adding to the chances of a full nights rest.
There are natural sugars found only in honey that have the ability to increase insulin and allow tryptophan to enter the brain. Add some to your tea, or even just swallow a spoonful if you choose.