If you’ve been having a hard time falling — or staying — asleep lately, look no further than your kitchen. Certain foods are scientifically proven to aid sleep. There is no shortage of information out there about the importance of a good night’s sleep, likely because more than 50 million Americans don’t get enough of it. If you’re part of this statistic, give one of these a try before you hit the sack.
These small green nuts make for a great bedtime snack. Not only are they easy and fun to eat, they contain antioxidants, specifically helpful for those suffering from high cholesterol. They also contain protein, vitamin B6 and magnesium, which all have been known to contribute to better sleep. A word of caution, though: make sure to stick to a single portion of pistachios when snacking. The nuts are high in fat and calories and could actually have an adverse effect on sleep if too many are consumed.
Not only do kale chips satisfy your crunchy cravings, they can help you have a better night’s sleep. Kale, as with other leafy greens like spinach and swiss chard, are high in magnesium. A number of diet studies suggest that the majority of Americans do not consume enough of the nutrient, known to promote circulation and relaxation. It’s particularly important for older adults to up their magnesium intake, because our bodies stop absorbing the nutrient like when we were younger.
Have a glass of tart cherry juice tonight, and think of it as your non-alcoholic nightcap. Cherries are a naturally occurring source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. A 2014 study showed that drinking a cup of tart cherry juice before bed could increase sleep time by an average of 85 minutes. Who doesn’t want nearly an hour and a half more sleep?
A warm bowl of oatmeal is a satisfying breakfast, so why not make it into a satisfying dessert, too? Enjoy some old-fashioned oats with a bit of fruit and cinnamon and get ready for a restful night. Oatmeal is high in carbohydrates, which stimulate insulin production upon digestion. Insulin helps tryptophan (sometimes credited with your post-Thanksgiving meal nap), enter the brain, where it is then converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin. All this science to say that eating carbs before bed can be calming and help decrease insomnia.
Research shows numerous benefits to eating these fuzzy fruits, but one benefit that stands out is their ability to help you get some shuteye. A study out of the Taipei Medical University found that eating one kiwi a day substantially improved study participants’’ quality of sleep. Like pistachios, kiwi is high in antioxidants. They also have high levels of serotonin, which we know from carb-filled foods can be great for overcoming sleeplessness.
Next time you have difficulty sleeping, have one of these snacks before you hit the sack.