Rory made us banana tea last night. Boiled banana, skin and all, with a dash 0f cinnamon. He slept like a baby, and I was up an hour past my usual 11am. I know most of us on occasion have trouble sleeping. To help, here’s a quick list of 7 foods to improve sleep.
Foods To Improve Sleep
From a nutritional perspective, studies show certain minerals to be effective as natural sleep aids. Bananas contain potassium and magnesium, both are muscle relaxers to help you relax and sleep. You can also try the banana tea recipe reported to help you sleep. We found the tea to be mild with a pleasant taste.
Dark chocolate is frequently suggested as one of the foods to improve sleep. Dark chocolate contains Theobromine which is a mood-boosting compound to relieve stress and anxiety. One ounce of dark chocolate contains antioxidants and serotonin that relax body and mind. Dark chocolate generally has at least 70 percent cacao or cocoa. Although chocolate does have some caffeine, one ounce is considered not enough caffeine to hinder sleep.
Oats contain melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone. Try a small bowl of oatmeal as a pm snack.
Melatonin-rich tart cherries have been shown to improve sleep duration. Drinking two glasses of tart cherry juice improved Zzz’s for the sleep deprived at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at LSU. Frank L. Greenway, director of the outpatient research clinic at Pennington says; “the ruby red pigments in cherry juice contain an enzyme that reduces inflammation and decreases the breakdown of tryptophan, letting it go to work longer in your body.” Tryptophan is a sleep-inducing amino acid. Skip the camomile tea and go for Michigan cherry juice to help you improve sleep.
Walnuts are another good source of tryptophan, to help make serotonin and melatonin, Additionally, University of Texas researchers found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which may make them one of the super foods to improve sleep.
I grew up hearing how a warm glass of milk would help me sleep. I could not stomach even the idea of warm milk. Fortunately, any calcium-rich product warm or cold helps our brains use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”
Salmon, Tuna and Halibut
Fish such as tuna, halibut, and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin. Other foods high in B6 include raw garlic and pistachio nuts. In a new study at Caltech University using zebrafish, researchers discovered that naturally occurring melatonin may help us fall asleep and help us with our circadian clocks related to sleep. The research is preliminary, but is predicted to help science unravel many remaining mysterious about how and why our bodies sleep.