Nothing gives you energy and focus quite like a good night's sleep. While you might not think about it often, the foods you put into your body impact the quality and duration of your sleep at night. If you want a better night's sleep, incorporate these 10 foods into your diet.
While there are so many different types of food that aid in sleep, fiber-rich foods are one of the best ones to opt for. These include lentils, coconuts, avocados and broccoli. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that an increase in fiber promotes better sleep.
Add more fiber-rich ingredients to your meals. Include some avocado slices on your Taco Tuesday nights. Jazz-up basic broccoli by adding seasoning and charring it on the grill.
B6 is a vitamin that creates melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall asleep. Fish is an excellent source of B6, particularly sea bass and salmon. If you love that smokey flavor, throw some fish on the grill. Otherwise, you can still get a delicate, delicious fish by baking it in the oven. Lay a few slices of fish on a piece of foil, brush each slice with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place a few slices of lemon on top of the fish. Wrap the food completely in the foil, bake and voila.
According to an analysis done by the Nutrition Journal, two or more servings of a soy product each day helped adults achieve higher-quality sleep, as well as longer-lasting sleep. Add two servings of soy to your daily diet to get maximum benefits.
Soy products have a high amount of isoflavones, which further the creation of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that impacts your sleep-wake cycle. Foods high in soy include meat alternatives, such as tofu, soy hot dogs and soy hamburgers. If you are not familiar with the taste of soy, slowly incorporate it into your diet. Start by substituting your meat with soy one or two times a week and increase it from there.
Whole grains are not only filling but also help you rest. These foods provide a heavy dose of magnesium, which can make it easier for you to fall asleep. Get a dose of whole grains via bread, oatmeal, pasta or brown rice.
If you are seeking a meal rich in whole grain for dinner, try a club sandwich on whole wheat bread, grilled chicken over a bed of brown rice or any variety of pasta dishes. If you want a richer pasta meal, make creamy baked macaroni and cheese. If you need to keep it on the lighter side, mix the pasta with yummy veggies and then toss the food in olive oil. Sprinkle with your choice of seasoning or add a dash of lemon juice.
If you are not already incorporating this exotic fruit into your diet, now is the time to start. Kiwis are rich in vitamin E, vitamin C, folate and serotonin, all nutrients that may help you get a better night of sleep. A Taipei Medical University study had participants eat two kiwis before bed; the study revealed that the subjects slept for almost one additional hour that night.
If you want the benefits of this juicy fruit, simply peel it and eat it as is. Otherwise, mix it up with a tantalizing kiwi recipe. Blend it into a smoothie or add it to your salad. If you have a sweet tooth, incorporate kiwi into a fruit pizza recipe. Bake a large sugar cookie for the base, spread cream cheese frosting over the cookie and top with your favorite slices of fruits.
If you are trying to increase your veggie intake, add kale to your list of greens. A lack of calcium may cause sleep deficiency, and kale is a wonderful source of calcium. Incorporate this leafy green into more of your pre-bedtime meals.
If you want a hot dish, make a delicious stir fry. Saute the kale along with your favorite veggies and protein source. If your diet is more restrictive, such as vegan or gluten-free, this ingredient can go in a variety of meals. Another great choice is a salad; toss a bed of kale with your favorite fixings and drizzle on your favorite dressing.
Another calcium-rich food to eat before you hit the hay is yogurt. If you want to incorporate this creamy food into your dinner, slice some fruits and mix them with your favorite flavored yogurt.
A parfait is another tasty option. Using a tall glass, add layers of yogurt, fruit and granola or almonds for a crunch. Play with different ingredients until you find your favorite combinations. Chocolate chips make a great sweet addition if you are creating an after-meal treat.
What is an excellent option to include in that parfait? Bananas of course! Like fish, bananas are a good source of B6, so start adding this fruit to your parfaits and other dishes. Try your hand at baking by whisking up a delicious banana bread loaf. Add different ingredients to play with the flavors, such as walnuts or peanut butter.
There is a reason you get so sleepy after that Thanksgiving meal every year. Turkey is another food that stimulates serotonin production, so it is only natural that you start to doze off after eating so much of it. Do not save this delicious bird for only holidays.
Since you likely do not want to cook an entire turkey each week, start incorporating other forms of this meat into your diet. Most delis offer turkey, so buy it from them and make sandwiches. Ground turkey is a fantastic alternative to ground beef. You can substitute it in nearly every recipe where you would normally use beef, such as spaghetti sauce, tacos or casseroles.
Another study suggested that tart cherry juice is a beneficial addition to your diet to increase sleep. Cherry juice is rich in melatonin, so start swapping two drinks each day for a beverage with tart cherry juice, such as a cherry lemonade. You can also mix tart cherries into a favorite recipe; adding it to guacamole gives the dip a kick, or try adding it to your favorite cookie recipe.
Whether you spend your days at an office, traveling from town to town or chasing kids at home, nobody wants to struggle during the day due to a lack of sleep. Small changes, like tweaks to your diet, can make a big difference in the duration and quality of your sleep. Incorporate these foods into your diet to help you get a better night of rest.
If you're following these eating tips and other sleep hygiene practices, but still find yourself having trouble sleeping at night, there's a chance that you could be suffering from a sleep disorder. If you're regularly having sleep troubles you might want to consult with your primary care physician or contact a sleep center to get to the root of the problem. And if you live in Alaska and want help from the best sleep experts in the state, click on the link below for a free 10-minute phone consultation, and we can help get you started down the road to better sleep.