3 Foods That Can Help and Improve Your Sleep

Have you ever felt extreme exhaustion because you had trouble falling asleep the night before?

You remember you were in bed for seven hours, but you woke up at 3:13, 4:27, and 5:07 am.

You’re so not ready to take on this day.

I’ve experienced this too, and it’s so frustrating. So, know that you’re not alone.

The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. But 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep.1,2

This is concerning since sleep deprivation is linked to chronic diseases like3:

  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

It can also increase your risk of getting into a car accident or making mistakes at work.

On top of preventing disease, I want you to optimize your sleep so you feel energized and ready to achieve your goals and dreams.

And to do that let’s start with what’s on your plate because surprisingly, the foods you eat impact your sleep quality and quantity.4

An unbalanced diet actually leads to lighter and less restorative sleep. So while you may be logging your nightly seven hours, your body isn’t able to get deep regenerative sleep if you’re eating a poor diet.5

The solution is simple – eating whole foods promotes better sleep and improves your overall health.

Let’s say goodbye to anxiety and lack of sleep – and hello to nutritious foods that help us feel good day and night! 

Foods to improve sleep

If you’ve struggled with getting quality sleep, then you’re probably familiar with all the tips, tricks, and over-the-counter solutions out there. While sleep music, melatonin, and other sleep remedies may help, introducing these foods is another way to help your body get the rest it needs.

1. Green, leafy and organic vegetables

While green, leafy vegetables provide a range of benefits such as a reduced risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease, they’re also an effective sleep aid. 

Varieties such as romaine, red, and green lettuce contain lactucin and lactucopicrin. These are bitter substances that have sedative properties. Romaine lettuce carries a larger amount of lactucin than other lettuce types.6 Romaine lettuce also contains antioxidant phenolics that protect your body from oxidative stress and sleep disturbances.

Other green, leafy, organic vegetables are spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, swiss chard, and bok choy. They’re all packed with calcium. And calcium helps your body produce and use melatonin, the hormone that your body needs to regulate your sleep cycles, and makes you sleepy.

You can enjoy these green, leafy vegetables in smoothies and salads.

2. Kiwi and tart cherry juice

Vegetables aren’t the only beneficial whole food for your sleep. Research found that

eating two kiwifruits one hour before bedtime increased total sleep time and sleep efficiency. This could be due to its high antioxidant capacity, folate, and serotonin amounts. Folate deficiency is linked to insomnia, so getting an extra boost of this powerful vitamin will help you log some quality z’s

Kiwis are also great sources of vitamin C and E. Their antioxidant benefits protect against free radical damage, which promotes your body’s overall health and rest.

Research also found that sugarless tart cherry juice helps fight against insomnia.7 Adults also experienced better sleep, increased total sleep time, sleep efficiency (total sleep time to total time in bed), and more energy when they incorporated tart cherry juice into their diets.8 

3. Nuts

Almonds and walnuts are a great addition to improve your sleep. Almonds contain magnesium.9 Low magnesium levels are tied to insomnia and poor overall sleep quality. The zinc from almonds also helps adults with insomnia.

Walnuts contain tryptophan – you know, that amino acid that makes you feel sleepy after

eating turkey on Thanksgiving? Walnuts also stimulate melatonin production which will help your overall sleep improve.

Other nuts that I’ve advised my patients to incorporate include cashews and pistachios. It’s best to eat these nuts whole for maximum results and efficiency. So, while organic nut butter may be tasty, it won’t pack the same punch as eating whole nuts.

Whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts contain properties that can improve your overall health. If you want optimal sleep, try incorporating them into your diet today.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Starts With Your Food

Food is truly medicine. The foods you eat can either hurt or help your overall health – including your sleep.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, investigate your diet. It may be good to incorporate these foods to promote your overall health and quality rest.

Share with me in the comments: Which sleep-promoting whole foods will you incorporate into your diet?
Looking for more information on living a holistic lifestyle so you can continue living your best life? Follow my health adventures on Instagram: @themoniquestephanie.

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6506a1.htm
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html
  4. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105315573427
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3259
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27633109/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133468/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4751425
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24325082/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15979282/

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