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Why Oatmeal Helps You Sleep

Sleep Hack: The Perfect Drowsy Midnight Snack

Whether the cause of your drowsiness is stress, jet lag, or a booked social calendar, it can be a struggle to get enough sleep these days. Sadly, the effects of a sleepless night can go well beyond yawning. Weight gain, irritability, and susceptibility to illness are just a few issues linked to not getting enough sleep. Before you reach for that Ambien, know that there may be a simple reason that shut-eye isn't coming easy to you, like a mattress in need of replacement, for one. There is also a much more natural way to deal with a sleepless night: having a warm bowl of oatmeal.

Whole-grain oats encourage the production of insulin, which helps neural pathways get tryptophan — an amino acid that acts as a sedative — to the brain. Oats are also high in stress-reducing B6 and melatonin, another natural sleep aid. If you really want to amp up the sleep-inducing power of your oatmeal, be sure to make it with milk and bananas. Both of these foods contain nutrients known to help the body relax. It's a perfect recipe for nature's own sedative.

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