According to the National Sleep Foundation nearly half of all Americans have had a problem sleeping at least one of the seven days allotted in a week. But for many of us, we can count on two hands the amount of nights we toss and turn wishing we could get a little bit of shut eye.
There are a several over the counter and prescription medications available out there that can help one sleep when needed, but here at The Peach Kitchen, we like to solve everything with food. Be it advice on how to create a menu for your charity event or a simple recipe, food is our life so why not turn to food when we are trying to sleep.
Natural Sleep Aids
There are a myriad of reasons why we may not be able to fall asleep. Our schedules can get out of whack, our heartburn could be acting up, or our back could be in pain from sleeping on an old mattress. If the latter is the case, you may want to consider purchasing a new mattress like Saatva. The Saatva is an innerspring mattress that has coils that are individually wrapped specifically for spinal support.
Yet, sometimes we just can’t fall asleep and it is a fact that a certain foods are equipped with the minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that will help us get the rest we need. This doesn’t mean eating an entire pasta dinner before bedtime, which would actually do more harm than good. We put together a list of 10 reasonably healthy foods that can help you get the slumber you need.
1 – Almonds
The ability almonds have to help us sleep is only one of the reasons this seed is on the list of great superfoods. Yes, almonds are not actual nuts but seeds of the drupe fruit. They are loaded with magnesium, which is a mineral that aids in sleep. The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine published a research study that found low levels of magnesium are linked to the inability to remain asleep. Almonds are also a great natural remedy for headaches.
2 – Chamomile Tea
This one is pretty well known. Chamomile is famous for its calming effects. This is because it contains glycine increasing properties. This amino acid, known as L-Glycine, acts as a nerve and muscle relaxer and has sedative qualities. One cup should put you in a very sleepy state.
3 – Turkey
The meat from this bird contains another amino acid that aids in sleep; L-tryptophan. Tryptophan is categorized as an “essential” amino acid due to the fact that it isn’t made in the human body and can only be digested. Some medical professionals prescribe it for all types of sleep disorders among other ailments. Luckily, you can find it right in your deli section. So grab a few slices if you feel like sleeping isn’t coming easy to you.
4 – Walnuts
If turkey isn’t your thing, another great way to ingest tryptophan is by eating some walnuts. By doing so the tryptophan will help spike the production of serotonin, which is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, and melatonin, the hormone that is known to regulate our internal body “clock”. To top it off, a research study at the University of Texas found that walnuts also contain melatonin as well.
5 – Kale and Other Leafy Greens
Also a superfood, kale can definitely aid you in your quest for a more quality night of sleep. This and other greens like spinach or mustard contain calcium, which aids the brain’s usage of tryptophan. As for lettuce, is also helps us sleep because in it you will find lactucarium, which has been know to act as a sedative.
6 – Cheese and Crackers
In the old days the remedy for sleeping was a warm cup of milk. Today we try not to drink something so heavy but the reality is dairy is a great way to help us sleep. This is because diary products, like cheese, contain calcium. And we’ve already discussed the link between calcium and the brain and tryptophan. If you don’t want to eat crackers try a healthy option of eating the cheese on a slice of apple.
7 – Tuna and other fishes
Besides tuna, salmon and halibut have high levels of vitamin B6, which also aids your body in productions serotonin and melatonin. You can find B6 in raw garlic but this can cause serious gas issues or acid reflux so we don’t recommend eating raw garlic before bedtime. Pistachio nuts are also a great source of B6.
8 – Cherry Juice
A research study was conducted at two universities, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Rochester. They both found that tart cherries were a great way to spike melatonin production. When they gave their subjects cherry juice to drink insomnia symptoms seemed to diminish in comparison to the group who were given a placebo juice for consumption.
9 – Hummus
Another healthy food that contains tryptophan are chickpeas. You could just eat a handful but why not have some fun and eat a tasty pine nut or roasted red pepper hummus. Try some with a whole grain cracker or a carrot stick to get the drowsiness under way.
10 – Honey
Made from natural sugars this superfood helps raise levels of insulin. This also aids the movement of tryptophan in the brain. When added to that cup of chamomile tea the sleep aids in this one cup are astounding. Not only does honey help you sleep, it is an anti inflammatory so it helps with coughs, colds, and sore throats. Just one spoonful can do you and your health a world of good. And you’ll get a good night’s sleep on top of it.