The Best Foods That Can Help You Sleep Better

Adding these foods to your diet may help to increase your odds of a successful slumber.

Some people have trouble falling asleep. Others can’t stay asleep. And then there are the people who have trouble turning life “off” and tucking into bed at a reasonable hour.

Whatever the reason, we’re not alone—more than 50 million Americans don’t get enough shut-eye. Yet the health benefits of a good night’s rest are countless: sleep helps keep you happy, your brain sharp, your immune system strong, your waistline trim, your skin looking youthful—and lowers your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Here’s the good news: Adding these foods to your diet may help to increase your odds of a successful slumber.


Foods containing tryptophan

You have probably heard many times that drinking a cup of warm milk at night will help you to get asleep. And indeed this traditional sleep remedy has many scientific studies that support it. The reason is that milk contains an essential amino acid called tryptophan which is a precursor. A precursor is a compound that participates in the chemical reaction that produces another compound, and in out case tryptophan helps to produce serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that improves sleep.

Other foods that contain tryptophan and increase serotonin levels are poultry, seafood, dairy products, nuts and seeds, eggs and legums.

Foods containing zinc and magnesium

These minerals are important for healthy sleep. You can use magnesium or zinc supplement for sleep support, or you can get it through nutrition. Good sources of magnesium are: dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), fish, legumes, whole grains, avocado, bananas, plain non fat yogurt, dried fruits and dark chocolate.

Good sources of zinc are: seafood, beef and lamb,  beans, nuts and seeds, wheat germ and dairy products. Combine these foods and eat them for dinner to get into sleepy mood.

Foods containing melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone made by a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as banana, corn, rice, tomatoes, almonds, seeds and oats. You can also buy it as a supplement.

Cherries are one of the most concentrated sources of melatonin, so you can eat cherries in all forms: fresh, dried, frozen or as a juice.

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