You may have heard that a warm glass of milk before bed is just the thing to send you off to sleep. But beyond beverages, what you eat before your head hits the pillow can make a big difference to your night of rest. For those that struggle with a good night’s sleep, what you eat before you get some shuteye might be the answer to all your issues – and it’s worth a try.
Here are just a few of the foods that might help you get to sleep faster:
Almonds and sunflower seeds
While these seeds and nuts may look more at home in a hamster’s food dish, eating a handful of these crunchy treats might be the ideal thing to send you off to sleep. Both sunflower seeds and almonds are high in a natural chemical called melatonin. If you’ve ever taken sleep vitamins, you might have heard this word before. Melatonin helps to regulate your sleep and improve the quality of rest you’re getting overall, and in turn, helps you to sleep faster and better.
One of the more unusual fruits to have in your fruit bowl, research has suggested that eating two kiwifruits an hour before bed can have a beneficial effect on how quickly you get to sleep – and even how often you wake up. How does that work? In essence, kiwi is particularly rich in serotonin content – a chemical our brain recognises as a way to regulate our sleep cycle, as well as our mood. So on your next supermarket trip, it might just be worth adding this green fruit into your basket.
Oatmeal and Porridge
While these foods are typically relegated to the breakfast table, high-carb oat-based food has been shown to help induce drowsiness when consumed before bedtime. In general, it’s been shown that a heavy dose of carbs can help you sleep better. But oatmeal and porridge have the benefit of containing oats, which are a source of melatonin – giving you that double dose of drowsiness and helping you get a better night’s rest in one go.
If you find yourself unable to sleep because of repeated hunger pangs or constant thirst, then watermelon might just be the answer. This highly hydrating fruit is a great way to beat those feelings of hunger and go to sleep feeling hydrated and full. While watermelon isn’t specifically full of sleep-inducing chemicals, it is light enough that it doesn’t cause indigestion – and the high water content is particularly beneficial for those that find they need to drink more at bedtime.
Baked, roasted or boiled, sweet potato is an excellent source of potassium, as well as calcium and magnesium. The result of all three together is more relaxation, which in turn encourages better and faster sleep. You’re also less likely to wake up in the night with leg cramps if you’re getting the right amount of magnesium, an added benefit if that’s something you currently struggle with. Of course, if you’re not a fan of sweet potato, bananas will also work – especially if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth.
When it comes to getting to sleep faster, food can be your friend – provided you pick carefully. It’s always worth experimenting to find what works for you, but according to science, each of these foods are the gateway to a quicker, and better, night’s rest. So why not give them a go?