15 Foods That Will Put You to Sleep (and Keep You There!)
You probably know at least a couple of tried-and-true tricks for falling asleep faster and getting a better night's sleep — like putting your phone away and not dozing off with the TV on. But there are foods that you can snack on before hitting your pillow that help better than counting sheep! It's not surprising that caffeine and sugar did not make the list, so steer clear of those and nosh on one of these to have you sleeping through the night.
Bananas are filled with the natural muscle relaxants potassium and magnesium. In addition, they contain tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin and melatonin to help you sleep all night long.
There's actually truth to the idea that warm milk has soothing effects, although experts suspect that psychology has something to do with it. But dairy in general seems to work because calcium has a direct role in melatonin production.
It's no wonder you're in serious need of a nap after Thanksgiving dinner! Turkey, chicken, and other poultry are rich in tryptophan, and while it's still unclear if they directly impact sleep, experts say that they can when paired with foods high in carbohydrates.
Dark chocolate gets a bad rep for causing restlessness due to its caffeine content. However, in addition to its other health benefits, it also contains serotonin, which helps you relax.
Studies have shown that tart cherries and cherry juice can help you catch some zzz's. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which controls your sleep and wake cycles.
There's a reason chamomile has been used for ages to help insomnia — because it increases glycine, which relaxes the body and is a sleep-inducer. And sipping on a cup of chamomile tea can do just the trick!
There's something nostalgic about having a late-night bowl of cereal! But if you're looking for a better slumber, reach for a low-sugar variety. The carbs from cereal will help you absorb the effects of tryptophan in the milk.
Peanuts and Peanut Butter
Peanuts are filled with niacin (vitamin B3), which promotes the release of serotonin in the body. So spread some protein-packed peanut butter on whole-wheat bread for the perfect before-bed snack.
Oats are packed with melatonin, and the grains raise your blood sugar level, which can make you tired. Mix in a little milk, and you'll surely be snoozing soon.
We mentioned that milk is a great before-sleep snack, and yogurt is another dairy that works well. Have some low-fat Greek yogurt to reap the snooze-inducing effects of tryptophan!
Cheese and Crackers
This combo brings together dairy and carbs for the ultimate nighttime snack. The cheese has potassium, which leads to melatonin, and the crackers provide the tryptophan.
Chickpeas are rich in vitamin B6, which helps the body produce melatonin. So if you're not in the mood to roast some chickpeas, just have some hummus with veggies or whole-wheat crackers!
This natural sugar-filled treat raises insulin levels so that tryptophan (which is converted into serotonin and melatonin) can enter the brain more easily and work its sleepy magic. Try dripping a little honey on your Greek yogurt to kick it into high gear!
Pumpkin Seed Powder
You might not have even known that pumpkin seed powder existed, but it has more tryptophan than a glass of milk. Mix it with applesauce and spread on whole-wheat toast for an unexpectedly yummy and effective snack.