I was always amazed at how many people struggle with sleep… until I became one. True, pregnancy is most likely the culprit in my case, but not necessarily so for others. So if you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, check this out…
Before I get into some great foods for a good night’s sleep, let’s list off the ‘ol favorite tips:
- Get Active! Moving your body during the day will help it rest more easily at night.
- Know You Optimum Sleeping Conditions. Sure, snuggling with the pup is tempting, but does her snoring or spastic moves wake you up? Maybe she’d be better off beside the bed.
- Avoid Caffeine and Sugar Late in the Day. Both of these stimulants can keep you up, even if you eat them hours before bedtime.
- No Alcohol or Cigarettes. Alcohol might knock you out, but it won’t be quality sleep. When’s the last time you woke up refreshed after a night of partying? And cigarettes are a stimulant, whether you believe it or not.
Ok… now to the foods!
- Chia Seeds – these powerful little nutrition bombs are high in tryptophan, which raises melatonin and serotonin levels. Eating just 2 ounces a couple hours before bed can help promote a restful night’s sleep.
- Cereal & Milk – carbohydrates help increase the level of tryptophan found in dairy products. Carbs are also easy to digest and comforting, which can help ease you into relaxation. Skip the high-sugar varieties though.
- Wheat Germ – Wheat germ can help decrease stress levels and is a fabulous source of vitamin B6. Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp in yogurt (a tryptophan source!) about 2 hours before bedtime.
- Cherries – Cherries are full of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Eat a handful a couple hours before bed, or sip on cherry juice (if you can find it without added sugars).
A formula to remember, in case you forget these ‘magical’ sleep foods in a bind…
Carbs + Protein = serotonin
…which = SLEEP
Or, go for the granddaddy and combine all of the above! A bowl of cereal, topped with chia seeds and wheat germ, sliced cherries and cold milk.
What’s your best ‘good night’s sleep’ tip?