Five Foods That Help You Sleep Better at Night
Posted On Feb 16, 2018
Do you sometimes feel as if you are spinning around in a washing machine instead of sleeping in your bed? There are many reasons why you may find it hard to sleep at night but did you know that a simple solution of just eating foods that could help you sleep better may be an answer? If anything, it is worth a try. According to the National Sleep Foundation, certain foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan that can cause drowsiness. Carbohydrates, they say, make tryptophan more available to the brain which is why a carbohydrate-heavy meal at night can make you sleepy. The building blocks of tryptophan come from the proteins we eat, which is why the best bedtime snack is one that contains both a protein and a carbohydrate. Here are five healthy foods that can help you to sleep better at night.
Oats are rich in melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland. According to the National Sleep Foundation, during the day, the pineal is inactive but when the
Sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is “turned on” by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night – before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.
Almonds contain both tryptophan and magnesium, which help to relax your muscles and keep your heart at a steady rhythm. According to the National Institute of Health, “magnesium plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.” Almonds also boost serotonin levels, so try almond butter on a cracker before bedtime.
Bananas are rich in magnesium, which helps to relax your muscles. It is also rich in sleep-promoting hormones serotonin and melatonin, so sliced banana on toast maybe be a good idea.
Just a spoonful of honey makes you sleepy. How? Honey contains glucose, which tells your brain to shut off orexin, the chemical known to keep you alert. According to a study done by the National Center of Biotechnology Institute (NCBI), “orexin-containing islet cells, like those in the brain and gut, are glucosensitive and part of a network of glucose “sensing” cells that become activated when blood glucose levels fall.”
Everyone knows that turkey makes you sleepy, but did you ever wonder how? Turkey is loaded with sleep-inducing tryptophan. To really hedge your bets on getting a good night’s sleep, try honey baked turkey on oat bread.