Foods To Help You Sleep
Although we know that it's an old wives' tale that eating food close to bedtime causes weight gain, what you eat can have an impact on how well you sleep. Here are our top six sleep-friendly foods to add to your bedtime snack repertoire.
Cherries are one of the few foods that naturally contain melatonin, the chemical that helps regulate your body's internal clock. If cherries aren't in season, try dried cherries, frozen cherries or cherry juice to get the same benefits.
Complex carbohydrates are high in fibre, meaning it takes your body longer to digest them, releasing glucose gradually into your bloodsteam. This slow and steady release means you won't have to deal with energy spikes or sudden hunger pangs while you're trying to drift off. Make sure you opt for brown rice when you make a late-night sushi run!
Nutmeg has a reputation in alternative medicine as a mild sedative, and new research shows it can also help ease stomach issues. Make sure you use freshly ground nutmeg - dried powder won't have the same impact. Try adding some to your night time tea or a mug of warm milk. Be careful though - too much nutmeg can be toxic, so be sure to only consume it in moderate amounts.
Speaking of warm milk - it's not a myth! Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin, which some believe might make it easier to sleep. The calcium in milk also helps your brain use tryptophan. The temperature doesn't actually matter, so feel free to drink it cold, although soothing memories of your grandma giving you a mug of warm milk when you couldn't sleep may go a long way to relax you as well.
Bananas are rich in the relaxing chemicals magnesium and potassium, which can help you settle down for sleep. The concentration of these chemicals is even higher in the banana peel, so if you want to really capitalize on the banana's soothing properties, try making banana tea!
Chickpeas are a good source of vitamin B6, which helps support adrenal function and helps calm and maintain a healthy nervous system. That means it can help regulate your body clock and ease anxiety, especially when taken in conjunction with magnesium - also found in chickpeas. In addition, chickpeas contain folate, which helps regulate sleep patterns, especially in older people. Pair your hummus with some whole wheat toast or crackers for the perfect bedtime snack.