Top 6 Foods That Can Help You Get the Sleep You Need

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Have you ever noticed how some foods make you feel sleepy while others give you a lift? Not only does food add nourishment to our bodies, but the things we eat and drink can pick us up or slow us down. Knowing how food and beverages affect the body can help keep you alert during the day and get the sleep you need at night. Here are a few foods that will help you avoid sleepless nights:

Lentils

This superfood is rich in magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role in sleep. It’s also a good source of potassium and protein to help you sleep through the night.

Almonds

These crunchy nuts do more than add flavor to a party snack. Almonds contain magnesium, a muscle-relaxing mineral that plays a key role in regulating sleep. A handful of almonds or a tablespoon of almond butter before bed may help you fall asleep — and stay asleep.

Bananas

These nutritional powerhouses contain tryptophan, an amino acid that has been linked to sleep quality. They also offer abundant amounts of magnesium and potassium, notes UCLA’s Avidan. “Both minerals help to relax muscles and may ease a painful charley horse that can wake you during the night,” he says.

Milk and Cereal

Milk contains the sleep-promoting tryptophan, which the brain uses to make serotonin and melatonin, hormones that promote relaxation and control sleep and wake cycles. The carbohydrates in cereal make tryptophan more available to the brain, according to the National Sleep Foundation. For the best nutritional bang, choose a small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal.

Hummus

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), the main ingredient in hummus, are not only rich in tryptophan but also in folate and vitamin B-6. Folate helps to regulate sleep patterns, especially in older people, and vitamin B-6 helps to regulate your body clock.

Chickpeas are a great snack if you’re looking to add some diversity into your diet. You can also eat raw chickpeas by tossing them in a salad, or cooking them up and adding them as a side dish to any meal. Better still, turn to hummus. Hummus is made with chickpeas and it makes a healthy snack or delicious condiment on sandwiches.

Peanut Butter

Next time your sweet tooth is craving something after dinner, swap your dessert out for some peanut butter. PB is rich in tryptophan. Spread some on a few whole-grain crackers, which provide carbs to help the tryptophan reach the brain more easily.

Finally…

If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, consider the foods in your daily diet to see how they might be impacting your sleep cycle. Each item on this list can be eaten individually or mixed together for diverse meals and snacks to add to your diet. Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Contact ADC’s Sleep Center for more information or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by AARP).

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