Some of us struggle to fall asleep. Some of us can’t stay asleep. And some of us are desperately seeking sleep but just can’t turn life off and get ourselves to bed at a reasonable hour.
But what if you could sleep better just by tweaking your diet?
Collectively, we average just 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep each night. A century ago, we averaged 9 to 10 hours per night. As our snoozing dips, our waistlines stretch out. Coincidence? We think not. “Researchers say that how much you sleep and quite possibility the quality of your sleep may silently orchestrate a symphony of hormonal activity tied to your appetite,” according to WebMD.com.
It’s no surprise that a good night’s sleep can fire you up for a more productive morning – one that might include a trip to the gym. And the opposite is true too. A poor night’s sleep leads to a sluggish morning – with no chance of a workout.
If you’re ready for your own personal sleep epiphany, we’ve got a list of foods that will help your body and mind unwind so you can get the sleep you need. Get ready for sweet dreams tonight and a healthier you tomorrow.
Cherries – Cherries boost melatonin naturally. If you’re not familiar with melatonin, it’s a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Sip a glass of cherry juice or scoop some into bowl to munch on before bed.
Dark chocolate – The cacao bean is a chalky, nasty-tasting disease-fighting bullet. The serotonin in it makes it an over-achieving sleep superstar. While milk, sugar and butter make it taste better, they also add a heap of calories and reduce effectiveness. Stick to chocolate that’s at least 70% cacao and you’ll reap the rewards without the extra calories.
Almonds – Studies show magnesium promotes deeper sleep and almonds provide a yummy way to get in that action. A handful before bed is all you’ll need.
Chamomile tea – A warm drink before bed is comforting and soothing but coffee, most tea and hot chocolate all contain caffeine. Chamomile lacks the caffeine and studies show it increases glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles. Now all you need is your favorite book and you’ll be ready for sleep in no time.
Bananas – If your mom fed you bananas before bed, she was onto something good. They contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, which encourages relaxation.
Oily fish – Tuna and salmon give you a boost of vitamin B6, which helps your body manufacture melatonin. Roasted salmon or a tuna steak for dinner paves the path for sweet dreams later.
Kale – There’s a reason kale’s lauded as a super-food. It’s loaded with calcium, which helps the brain process tryptophan to manufacture melatonin and serotonin – and its low in calories.
Oily fish and kale for dinner, almonds and tea for a bedtime snack and you’re set for a healhy, well-rested YOU!
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