Are you one of those millions who find it incredibly hard to get some shuteye even at the end of a tiring day? If you spend more time tossing and turning in bed despite practicing clean sleeping techniques, you could be deprived of sleep-inducing nutrients.
What you eat can affect your quality of life and sleep too. This is the reason why you should include foods with magnesium, lycopene, selenium, tryptophan, vitamin C, and carbohydrates in your dinner. These nutrients have been scientifically proven to greatly improve your quality of sleep, hence it’s mandatory to have foods containing them regularly.
1. Foods High In Magnesium
Spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, dark chocolate, avocado, figs, and bananas are excellent sources of magnesium. This mineral plays an important role in lowering high blood pressure and inflammation in the body. As far as your sleep is concerned, magnesium has the ability to influence the sleep-wake cycle in your body.
In addition, to that, it regulates the hormone melatonin and binds to the neurotransmitter chemical in the brain called GABA. The combined effect makes your brain and body calm and relaxed, eventually making you fall asleep. It also helps to lower the effect of calcium and cortisol thereby preventing nervousness and muscle twitching during sleep.1
2. Foods High In Lycopene
Lycopene is present in abundance in guavas, watermelons, papayas, tomatoes, red peppers and grapefruits. Several scientific studies have found that the consumption of lycopene-rich foods helped to improve the duration of sleep among light sleepers.2
3. Foods High In Selenium
Although selenium is a trace mineral, its deficiency can negatively affect your health and sleep quality. Top selenium containing foods include Brazil nuts, tuna, halibut, sardines, beef, turkey, and poultry. Have any of these foods at least an hour before you go to sleep.3
4. Foods High In Tryptophan
Tryptophan is one of the most important amino acids for sleep. It is necessary for the synthesis of serotonin that can make you feel happy. Tryptophan is also responsible for the release of the hormone melatonin which makes you drowsy. Having tryptophan-containing foods like nuts, seeds, tofu, chicken, turkey, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs has been proven to lower anxiety and depression. This, in turn, gives you a sound sleep by decreasing the chances of sleep apnea and teeth grinding.4
5. Foods High In Calcium
There’s a solid reason why we are encouraged to drink milk right from childhood. Not only is calcium a mineral your skeletal system loves but it’s also a natural sleep aid. It contains tryptophan which helps you fall asleep easily into a long and restful sleep. Milk, cheese, yogurt, kale, sardines, and almonds have ample calcium to meet your daily requirement.5
6. Foods High In Carbohydrates
Researchers claim that consuming dinner with high glycemic index foods at least 4 hours before sleeping can make you fall fast asleep. This is because high carbohydrate intake releases the amino acid tryptophan that produces both serotonin and melatonin. These work together to make you feel lethargic and sleepy. However, be mindful of eating healthy foods like whole grains, potatoes, and legumes instead of junk food for the carbs to prevent chances of weight gain.6
Ultimately, in addition to eating these foods, you should follow a strict routine for sleep time too. Keep away any electronic devices once you are in bed and focus on your breathing to mellow your mind down. Once it becomes a daily ritual, falling asleep wouldn’t seem like a struggle anymore!
|↑1||Abbasi, Behnood, Masud Kimiagar, Khosro Sadeghniiat, Minoo M. Shirazi, Mehdi Hedayati, and Bahram Rashidkhani. “The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences 17, no. 12 (2012): 1161.|
|↑2, ↑3||Grandner, Michael A., Nicholas Jackson, Jason R. Gerstner, and Kristen L. Knutson. “Dietary nutrients associated with short and long sleep duration. Data from a nationally representative sample.” Appetite 64 (2013): 71-80.|
|↑4||Richard, Dawn M., Michael A. Dawes, Charles W. Mathias, Ashley Acheson, Nathalie Hill-Kapturczak, and Donald M. Dougherty. “L-tryptophan: basic metabolic functions, behavioral research and therapeutic indications.” International journal of tryptophan research: IJTR 2 (2009): 45.|
|↑5||Insomnia. University Of Maryland Medical Center|
|↑6||Afaghi, Ahmad, Helen O’connor, and Chin Moi Chow. “High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85, no. 2 (2007): 426-430.|