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Eight Great Foods to Help You Sleep More Soundly



Everyone craves a good night's sleep but you might not know that there are certain foods that can help with improving the quality of your sleep.

First the four fruit and nut suggestions...

1. Cherries - Eating these whole or drinking cherry juice can help to improve your sleep because of the presence of melatonin.  This is one of those hormones responsible for regulating your sleep patterns.  If insomnia is a problem for you, think about eating a handful of cherries or a small drink of natural tart cherry juice at bedtime.

2. Almonds - These nuts are rich in magnesium which is the mineral known to improve your sleep quality while helping the muscles relax.  Ideally, have a handful of snacks at bedtime.  Another way to introduce magnesium into your system is to relax in an Epsom salts bath before you go to sleep.

3. Kiwi Fruit - Known as a powerhouse for sleep with its high concentration of antioxidants and serotonin.  

4. Bananas - Yet another excellent source of magnesium, helping to support the nervous system, assisting tense muscles to relax and regulating the body temperature - all of which are necessary to allow you to fall asleep more easily.  In addition, bananas come with melatonin and tryptophan. 

And then the more savoury suggestions...

5. Cottage Cheese - This has long been known as a great snack being rich in protein and with a high water content, helping you to feel fuller for longer.  In addition, it is full of slow-digesting casein which is a type of protein that takes longer to break down and to absorb.  As casein also contains tryptophan, what could be a better snack to promote both muscle recovery AND sleep.

6. Rice - As well as having melatonin and as a complex carbohydrate, rice will trigger the release of insulin.  This in turn drives the amino acid tryptophan into the brain which helps to induce sleep.  In addition, that same tryptophan will convert into serotonin to sooth the nervous system making it less likely that any anxiety will disturb your sleep.  However, B vitamins are needed for this conversion to take place but the good news is that wholegrain rice comes complete with B vitamins.

7. Oats - Once again, another food that contains tryptophan, helping to convert serotonin into that all important sleep hormone melatonin.  And once again, providing another suggestion for a small meal or snack before bedtime.

8. Poultry - We have emphasized several times above the importance of tryptophan for aiding sleep.  Also found in poultry, this will help the body to sleep restfully as it is a precursor of serotonin - that happy neurotransmitter that helps to calm the brain.  And a few more sources with the same benefits to add to your list are: dairy products, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

We have suggested the top eight foods to help with your sleeping patterns but there are also foods to avoid if you want to ensure a good night's sleep.

  • Eating a large and heavy meal close to bedtime is not a good idea as this can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep while increasing the risk of acid reflux and other digestion problems.
  • Spicy foods are another thing to avoid as they can lead to heartburn and discomfort.
  • Try to eat your dinner or supper at least two hours before bedtime.  Ideally, you should choose lighter, easier-to-digest foods as suggested in the first part of this post - or soups or salads.