Sleep is an essential component of our overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, many people struggle with getting a good night’s rest, whether it be due to stress, a busy schedule, or other factors.
While there are many factors that can affect sleep, research suggests that certain foods may help improve sleep quality. From tart cherries and walnuts to chamomile tea and bananas, there are a variety of foods that may have a positive effect on sleep.
In this article, we will explore some of the foods that have been shown to have potential sleep-promoting effects and discuss how they may work to improve sleep quality.
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Tart cherries, or Prunus cerasus, are a type of cherry that is rich in melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles.
Research has shown that consuming tart cherry juice can improve the duration and quality of sleep in men and women and may be helpful in managing sleep disorders.
Walnuts are a source of many nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and copper. Magnesium, in particular, has been linked to sleep quality.
Some studies suggest that consuming walnuts, which are high in melatonin and the fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), may improve sleep due to their effects on serotonin production.
Chamomile tea has been used as a natural remedy for insomnia for many years. A review of studies found that chamomile may have a sedative effect that can be helpful in treating sleep problems.
Consuming honey before bed may improve sleep quality due to its tryptophan content, from which the hormone melatonin is produced.
Research has shown that honey may improve certain aspects of sleep compared to melatonin in people with poor sleep quality.
Oats, a complex carbohydrate, can help us feel full and relaxed, which may make it easier to fall asleep. They are also rich in melatonin, which can help us fall asleep faster. (1)
Bananas are a good source of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan that may promote sleep. Potassium and magnesium are minerals that contribute to muscle relaxation, which can help us feel calmer and more relaxed.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep. Eating a banana as a snack before bed may help us relax and sleep better.
A study that analyzed the impact of consuming bananas on sleep disorders in elderly individuals discovered that consuming bananas improved their sleep quality.
It is important to remember to consume these foods as part of a healthy and balanced diet, as excessive consumption of any food is not recommended.
More tips to help you sleep better:
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including on weekends.
- Create a comfortable and conducive sleep environment by making the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and using a comfortable mattress and pillow.
- Avoid using screens (e.g., phones, laptops, TVs) for at least an hour before bed as the blue light they emit can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Engage in physical activity during the day to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, and large meals close to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep.
- Relax before bed by reading a book or taking a warm bath.
- Consider using white noise or a sleep app to help you fall asleep.