Question

Healthy Sleeping

What are some foods that can help me sleep better?

A Answers (2)

  • ARachel Salas, MD, Sleep Medicine, answered on behalf of Johns Hopkins Medicine
    Studies show that warm milk, decaffeinated teas and tart juice can induce sleep. Avoid heavy meals or caffeinated foods before bedtime.
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • AMichael Breus, PhD, Psychology, answered
    Magnesium is a mineral that functions to relax nerves and muscles and also promotes healthy circulation. Deficiencies of magnesium have been associated with several sleep disorders. Foods high in magnesium are some of the most sleep-friendly foods around.
     
    Bananas are a great source of magnesium. So are many other nutrient-rich, waist-friendly foods, including:
    • Fruits: in addition to bananas, avocados, berries and melons
    • Leafy greens: spinach and Swiss chard
    • Nuts and seeds: including cashews, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and nut or seed butters 
    • Beans: black beans, tofu, soybeans
    • Whole grains: brown rice, millet, wheat and oat bran
    Potassium is another key mineral in the body that helps to relax muscles and nerves, as well as to promote healthy circulation and digestion. Research has shown a possible genetic link between potassium and slow-wave sleep: a study at the University of Wisconsin found that a gene in fruit flies that is responsible for regulating the flow of potassium is also the gene that allows for slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep, also known as delta sleep, is the deepest phase of our sleep cycle, the time when we get our most restorative sleep.
     
    Bananas win again, as a great source of potassium as well as magnesium. Other healthy foods that contain high levels of potassium are:
    • Vegetables: leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes and cauliflower
    • Beans: including lima, soybeans, lentils, pinto and kidney beans
    • Fish: salmon, cod, and flounder
    • Citrus: especially in juice form, in sources like orange juice
    Calcium is a mineral that plays a direct role in the production of melatonin, the “sleep hormone” that helps to maintain the body’s 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin levels rise naturally during the night, helping promote sleep, and are suppressed during the day, allowing us to be alert and wakeful. Calcium, like magnesium and potassium, is also a natural relaxant in the body.
     
    Dairy products are rich in calcium, and can be a good choice for a sleep-friendly evening snack. That glass of milk your mom had you drink before bed? Turns out, mom was right. There are other non-dairy foods that are also packed with calcium. If you’re not fan of yogurt, milk or cheese, try these options for bringing more sleep-promoting calcium into your diet:
    • Dark leafy greens: turnip greens, collards, spinach, mustard greens, kale
    • Nuts and seeds: Brazil nuts, almonds, sesame seeds
    • Soy: tofu, soymilk
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
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