Food can promote sleep. The right foods are full of the right nutrients and these can have a very positive impact on rest and the quality of sleep you get. Here are ten of the best foods to promote sleep.
- Boiled and Cooled Potatoes
Boiling potatoes preserves the resistant carbohydrates (needed to balance blood sugar), which is unlike cooking them at high temperatures. Boiling these potatoes, then cooling them overnight helps bring back most of these carbohydrates in a process known as starch retrogradation. Other foods that should be boiled then cooled to preserve their carbohydrate composition include turnips, parsnips, Rutabagas, and sweet potatoes. Eating foods rich in resistant carbohydrates just before bed facilitates slow release glucose into the bloodstream through the night, hence promoting a good night’s sleep.
Seeds are particularly rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan is a protein known to induce a sense of relaxation and sleep in most people. Eating foods rich in this compound (according to the author of The Mood Cure, Julia Ross) does help promote sleep and especially if you rarely eat tryptophan-rich foods. Pumpkin seeds are believed to contain high levels of tryptophan hence commonly referred to as the new ‘warm glass of milk’ by Natalie Turner (the author of The Carb Sensitivity Program).
- Tart Cherry Juice
According to a study conducted in the University of Rochester (New York), tart cherry juice contains enough natural melatonin to promote/initiate sleep. Another study also shows that tart cherry juice induces increased production of tryptophan, another compound known to promote sleep. In addition to the cherry juice inhibits production of an enzyme known to degrade tryptophan, hence combating insomnia. For this reason, it would be advisable to drink 1-2 ounces of cherry juice in the morning and just before bed alongside fat, fiber, and proteins to regulate its GI content. This means better rest when you hit your Beautyrest mattress.
- Dark Leafy Greens
Dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is essentially needed for regulating blood sugar and nerve conduction, hence good for your sleep. According to the chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, Mark Hyman, magnesium is a stress antidote hence vital for sleep. Studies also show that introducing or consuming foods rich in magnesium to your diet plan does help fight insomnia while decreasing sympathetic nervous system activity. In other words, the dark leafy vegetables will help you sleep soundly at night.
- Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a rich source of the essential B vitamins. These vitamins are needed to convert tryptophan into serotonin then to melatonin. It also promotes a healthy nervous system hence helping normalize sleep.
Mushrooms are often considered a superfood and for a good reason. Mushrooms, especially shiitake are rich in vitamin B5, one of the essential vitamins required to regulate tryptophan and healthy adrenal glands.
Eggs pack plenty of nutrients known to support a healthy brain as well as improve sleep. They are unusually high in inositol (B Vitamin) that helps body cells to resist cortisol hence improving sleep.
- Red Peppers
Red peppers are some of the most abundant sources of Vitamin C. This vitamin is essentially needed to promote better sleep. Our bodies however need to be replenished with fresh vitamin C often to lower cortisol levels.
Low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids is a common cause of stress, depression, and anxiety in most people. Consuming foods high in omega fatty acids, however, decreases inflammation and other chemicals that cause stress and anxiety. Salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, hence recommended for brain muscle relaxation and better sleep.
- Bone Broth
While delicious, bone broth contains amino acid and glycine, compounds needed to induce relaxation and promote sleep. The fat-rich, low-glycemic yet tasty bone broth is however very easy to prepare. Taking a cup or two of bone broth can help you sleep well at night.