One of the paradoxes of the modern world is that while most people are so tired and stressed that they desperately need relaxation, they fail to fall asleep when their head touches a pillow. To prevent another sheep-counting session, you can try eating certain foods that promote sleep – and avoid the ones stealing it, such as coffee and protein-rich and spicy food.
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The question of whether foods containing melatonin and tryptophan can induce sleep is a controversial one. That is mostly due to the fact that there are no large-scale researches that would support the theory. Anecdotal evidence suggests they do, but scientists still refrain from claiming melatonin-rich foods are a good way to overcome insomnia.
The scarce data and researches, some of which are not very reliable, revealed that magnesium and potassium can contribute to quality sleep, and carbohydrates also have such a property. That is why our list of foods that can assist you in falling asleep includes the following:
Bananas are a bundle of nutrients, including magnesium and potassium, which, according to researchers, can help muscles relax. These nutrients benefit a lot of body systems, and eating bananas is recommended to almost anyone following a healthy diet. There is also tryptophan, which is reportedly able to induce sleep.
#2. Jasmine rice
The key message here is to eat grains with high glycemic index several hours before bed. There are at least two facts about rice effectiveness that prove it can help fight insomnia. First, rice (any high GI rice will do) is a high-glycemic-index food, and it is reported that such kinds of food can help shorten sleep onset latency. Second, it is recommended to eat white rice four hours before going to bed – such an approach enables to achieve the most significant reduction in the time needed to fall asleep.
It’s not known for sure whether milk can help induce sleep due to tryptophan found in it, but many people like drinking a glass of warm milk before going to bed. Some researchers believe it does the trick because our mothers and grandmothers used to give us milk in the evening when we were kids. So, these memories help us calm down and reduce stress, and it gets easier to fall asleep. Besides, the warmth of the liquid can help you relax, preparing your body for a good night’s sleep. Even if it’s not backed by scientific study, the effect of milk can be used by those who drink milk before bedtime on a regular basis – if your body knows it is normal to drink it before sleeping, this routine can work in your case.
Although there are not many quality researches related to the issue, kiwis are mentioned in several studies as a fruit that can help increase sleep time, fall asleep faster, and improve overall sleep quality and avoid waking up in the middle of the night. The ability to induce sleep is attributed to serotonin, a chemical used by the brain to regulate sleep cycles. Kiwis are known for being rich in antioxidants, which means they can help reduce inflammation. They may also benefit digestion and contribute to cholesterol reduction.
Nuts are a source of a wide range of nutrients, and every healthy diet features this kind of foods. Almonds can help you sleep due to their being rich in magnesium. According to a study carried out by Iranian researchers, magnesium supplementations can improve sleep efficiency, time and onset. Besides, almonds can increase the level of melatonin in the body. Also, it is reported that the nut can reduce cortisol levels, thus helping manage stress and improve sleep.
Whatever food you choose, make sure not to eat it right before going to bed: if you do, your body will be busy digesting it instead of relaxing and concentrating on other needs.
The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial – Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems – Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset – Academic.oup.com