Everybody needs to snooze! But millions of Americans struggle each day with falling asleep, staying asleep and maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Below are some foods that have been known to facilitate falling asleep.
Bananas are known to contain a combination of potassium and magnesium. Both minerals are believed to contribute to a healthy night’s sleep. According to researchers, potassium and magnesium can promote the relaxation of muscles and the calming of nerves before bedtime. Bananas are also said to contain tryptophan, a chemical in the body which can be converted to serotonin and melatonin, which are responsible for promoting a sense of calm and well-being throughout the body.
Try eating a banana within a few hours of falling asleep. Feel free to get fun and mix it up with a smoothie, cereal or yogurt. Just be sure whatever you eat with your banana does not reverse the beneficial effects it provides for falling asleep!
Like turkey, another food item you will find on this list, Honey is also known to contain tryptophan. Tryptophan (L-tryptophan) is a compound that can encourage the body to produce feelings of calm. In the Journal of Psychiatric Research, author E. Hartmann writes that foods containing tryptophan may help a person fall asleep faster.
“The weight of evidence indicates that L-tryptophan in doses of 1 g or more produces an increase in rated subjective sleepiness and a decrease in sleep latency.”
For the best results, try finding a brand of raw honey. Types of raw honey are typically not filtered or ‘watered-down’ through processing techniques. To help in falling asleep, it is suggested to take one to two teaspoons (or a whole tablespoon) of raw honey leading up to bedtime.
Decaffeinated Green Tea
A natural compound found in green tea that can promote sleep is called L-theanine. While L-theanine is not recognized to help a person fall asleep faster, it is noted to help a person gain more restful sleep.
“Researchers in Japan gave volunteers 200 mg of L-theanine daily and recorded their sleep patterns on devices worn around their wrists,” writes Terri Mitchell, who authored a piece featuring Theanine in January 2006 for Life Extension Magazine. “The L-theanine didn’t cause the subjects to sleeplonger, but it did cause them to sleep better. It was documented that sleep quality, recovery from exhaustion and refreshed feelings were all enhanced by L-theanine.”
According to the article, the results of the study led researchers to begin tests on L-theanine as a natural mood enhancer, as it can cross the blood-brain barrier affecting brain patterns.
Now that we’ve reached the big-bird, it is time to reiterate L-tryptophan, what it is, and how it works. Tryptophan can trigger you to produce a variety of different chemicals that can affect how our brains and bodies function. Tryptophan is often needed to produce serotonin; in turn, serotonin can then be used to produce melatonin, which plays directly into your sleep cycle.
However, according to nutritional experts, the legend that turkey has more sleep-inducing power than anything is a misconception. While turkey does contain amounts of L-tryptophan, it is said to have no more than many other foods containing tryptophan, which can include: types of fish, chicken, nuts and even tofu.
Milk contains vitamin D, which is often received by humans via exposure to the sun. Scientists are finding that patterns of light and darkness, or night and day, can have a huge impact on the patterns of an individual’s sleeping habits.
“A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus,” explains The Sleep Foundation.
“There,” the article explains, “a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake.”
During the day, the body stops making melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland. Researchers say that when darkness falls, our pineal gland is triggered to begin working again.
These foods may be the push your body needs to return to a healthier balance. A healthy balance can lead to reduced stress, and