It can be very difficult to get a full night's rest. Some people are night owls and prefer to stay up all night, which can cause an unhealthy sleep routine. Other people just can't seem to fall asleep, no matter how hard they try. Luckily for them, there's several foods that just might do the trick. Here's some foods that can help people fall - and stay - asleep.
Cut the time in half it takes to fall asleep by eating white rice four hours before going to bed. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered eating white rice, such as basmati or jasmine will do the trick.
Why? There's a high glycemic index in white rice, which means it releases glucose in the bloodstream while digesting very slowly. In addition, foods with a high glycemic index can increase tryptophan (an amino acid that helps promote sleep) production.
Most people associate cereal as a breakfast food, but the popular food works just as well as a treat before bed.
The National Sleep Foundation revealed a combo of cereal and milk is a powerful duo in getting someone to fall asleep. The carbohydrates in the cereal have a high glycemic index, and the milk is rich in calcium.
As the calcium is consumed, it causes tryptophan to be converted into serotonin and melatonin, which are the main chemicals that will bring on the sweet dreams.
Chocolate is a very popular sweet treat, so it's a great and wonderful surprise to know it can help people fall asleep. Unfortunately, not all types of chocolate will do the trick, only dark chocolate.
In addition to being rich in serotonin (which relaxes the mind and body), dark chocolate contains a lot of magnesium. Researchers at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities discovered magnesium impacts sleeping and waking circadian rhythms, body temperature, hormone release, and much more.
Containing natural muscle-relaxants such as magnesium, potassium, and carbohydrates, bananas are definitely a good go-to in order to get a good night's sleep.
These substances are great for helping cognitive functioning and improving cardiovascular health, in addition to helping to relax the body.
Don't like eating bananas plain? Try eating them with yogurt, nut butter, or toast.
Ever wonder why everyone was always so sleepy after eating on Thanksgiving? The culprit is most likely everyone's favorite main dish - turkey.
Although some researchers don't believe turkey has any impact on sleep, some doctors believe there is merit to this claim. Turkey contains tryptophan, which then metabolizes into both melatonin and serotonin.
However, one serving won't do the trick; a larger portion will need to be consumed in order to fall asleep.
Another breakfast food that works just as well before going to bed. Whole-grain oats increase insulin production, and this causes neural pathways to transport tryptophan to the brain. As a result, blood sugar is raised.
These oats also have high vitamin B6 and melatonin levels, which reduce stress and help to relax the body.
Milk and fruit can also be added to the oats to help speed up the falling-asleep process.
Pretzels are perfect for an afternoon snack, as well as trying to fall asleep at night. Filled with carbohydrates, pretzels have a high glycemic index. As a result, blood sugar and insulin levels increase. This helps tryptophan enter the brain easily, and turn into melatonin.
Some things to remember when consuming foods with a high glycemic index is the risk of mood swings and insulin resistance.
Almonds are definitely a great option for trying to fall asleep because they contain a large amount of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. By consuming a handful before bed, they won't just help someone fall asleep - they're also known to help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
To sweeten the pot, these tree nuts are jam-packed with nutritional benefits- just one ounce contains large amounts of phosphorus, manganese, and riboflavin.
Growing up, a lot of us enjoyed a nice glass of warm milk before tucking into bed at night. Much like when enjoying a bowl of cereal, the calcium converts the tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin, making it easier to fall asleep.
Some scientists believe the warm milk can trigger the drinker with the memories of drinking the beverage before going to bed, which can also aid in falling asleep at night.
One of the most well-known and widely used techniques to fall asleep is to drink a cup of time. "Sleepy time" teas, such as chamomile and passionflower, will have the best results.
Chamomile tea contains a nerve and muscle relaxing chemical known as glycine, and can also work as a mild sedative.
On the other hand, passionflower tea contains Harman alkaloids, which when combined with the nervous system, help make people feel tired.
Some people can fall asleep quite easily but have issues staying asleep. Luckily, raw honey can help.
The natural glucose and fructose present in raw honey help the liver produce glycogen, which helps the body stay asleep during the night.
In order to prevent a night full of tossing and turning, eating a spoon full of honey should do the trick.
The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas, provides vitamin B6. This vitamin creates melatonin, one of the essential chemicals needed for an easy transition to sleep.
Hummus also has a source of tryptophan, which is a result of the combination of chickpeas and healthy oils that make up the delicious and perfect nighttime snack.
A lack of iron in a person's diet can lead to sleeping issues, so baked beans are a great addition to one's diet. The iron in the beans helps the body create red blood cells, providing oxygen to the body.
This helps to prevent fatigue, and help feel calmer and less anxious. As a result, this is will end in a better night's sleep.
Although chomping down on some lettuce before bed might not sound the best, it's actually a very helpful aid in trying to fall asleep. Researchers agree romaine works the best because it has a phytonutrient called lactucarium.
Lactucarium promotes relaxation, acts as a reliever pain, and induces sleep.
If eating lettuce still doesn't sound appealing, try boiling hot water over the leaves to make a tea. Be sure to add in some honey to cover up the lettuce flavor.
Containing at least two times the amount of tryptophan as lean meat proteins, mozzarella cheese is one of the best foods to eat before trying to sleep.
Part-skim mozzarella is the best version of mozzarella cheese to consume, which most string cheeses are made of.
One of the biggest issues people have when trying to fall asleep is because they're dehydration. It's a good thing water makes up about half of a melon, so one serving of this sweet fruit will help with hydration.
Melons also have a high fiber content, which aids to eliminate post-dinner hunger pains and ease with digestion.
Don't like melons? Swap it out for another fruit with high water content, such as pears, oranges, or apples.
This vegetable seems to have it all; sweet potatoes are a good calcium source, have complex carbohydrates to promote sleep, and potassium to help relax muscles.
With its many forms (fries, chips, pies, the list goes on and on), there's some version of sweet potatoes out there for everyone.
During a sleep study conducted by The National Institutes of Health, it was discovered eating a kiwi has an impact on getting a good night's sleep. Twenty-four adults ate two kiwis an hour before bed for a month and reported having an easier time falling asleep.
Kiwis have a high serotonin content and thus are believed to better promote sleep.
Cottage cheese can do more than just help someone sleep; it contains a high amount of casein, which is a milk protein that helps muscles repair and grow during sleep.
So, after a hard work out, try a couple of spoonfuls of cottage cheese to help with both sleeping and muscle recovery.
With high qualities of magnesium, phosphorous, copper and manganese, researchers agree walnuts are one of the best foods to snack on before bedtime.
Because the fatty acids can be changed into melatonin, a handful of these before bed should hopefully bring on the sweet dreams.