Getting great sleep night after night is about more than your bed. Your pillows, the temperature in your bedroom and even the time you wake up can impact how well (and for how long) you sleep. So it comes as no surprise that the food you eat can also play a big part in your snooze routine.
A healthy diet certainly helps improve your sleep, but there are some foods that are especially good for helping you get some shuteye. Check out these 9 snacks and ingredients that double as dream fuel.
Rich in healthy fats, almonds naturally regulate blood sugar and help you feel fuller for longer — which makes them a great pre-snooze snack. Since hunger pangs can jolt awake even the deepest sleepers, eating a handful of almonds or a bit of almond butter can help fend off bothersome nighttime cravings.
Bananas are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are not only critical elements of a healthy diet, but also of a healthy sleep routine. Bananas contain both tryptophan (an amino acid that helps you sleep) and potassium (which acts like a natural muscle relaxer), and are a great snack to munch on if you’re feeling hungry just before bed.
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are not only supercharged with nutrients, but they’re also rich with calcium — a vitamin that your body turns into melatonin, the hormone that helps send your mind and body off to sleep. Leafy greens are also rich with magnesium, which turns into potassium and helps relax your muscles for more restful shuteye.
Most insomniacs know just how effective a cup of hot chamomile tea is for dozing off — and that’s for good reason. Chamomile actually acts like a natural tranquilizer (albeit a gentle one) that helps your mind and muscles relax. If you’re feeling restless late in the evening, try brewing a cup of chamomile tea about half an hour before you head off to bed.
What once was just an old wives’ tale turns out to be a very effective sleep aid, according to recent research. Cherry juice is rich with melatonin, which signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Bonus: sipping tart cherry juice not only helps send you off to sleep, but is rich with antioxidants that fend off inflammation related to arthritis and joint discomfort.
Oatmeal isn’t just for the morning — as it turns out, this breakfast staple is rich with melatonin. Try eating oatmeal for dinner instead by swapping out sweet toppings for savory ones — or for even better results, slice up a few sleep-boosting bananas as a mix-in!
Ever felt especially sleepy after a high-protein meal? That’s because proteins have tryptophan, which cause the sensation of sleepiness or drowsiness. While eating just before bed isn’t recommended, having a protein-rich dinner about two to three hours before you hit the hay is a great way to get a good night’s sleep. Favorite high-protein ingredients include chicken, eggs, turkey and salmon.
A healthy, balanced diet is just one way you can get better sleep night after night. If insomnia is a constant problem, though, it might be time to consider other factors. If you suspect your bed might be the cause, talk to a Sleep Expert. They can help you find a mattress and pillow that solves for your unique sleep concerns.