You’ve counted everything in your bed from sheep to cows to dogs, but you still lie awake in bed, turning and tossing frequently. Or you’ve fallen asleep quick, but you wake up from time to time for no apparent reason. While occasional sleeplessness does happen, making a habit out of not being able to sleep soundly at night can be quite alarming. In fact, sleeplessness is now considered a health concern. Lack of sleep does not only make you groggy and cranky, but it poses more serious health risks like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. Overall, lack of sleep reduces an individual’s quality of life.
But did you know that what you eat also affects your ZZZs? You are what you eat, and what you eat significantly affects your sleep – quality and quantity wise. To help you get that much needed shuteye, here is a list of the best superfoods to an improved sleep quality:
Banana – leading in the list of superfoods for a better sleep is banana. This staple fruit is packing a punch when it comes to sleep-promoting nutrients. Banana has a long list of sleep-promoting nutrients including potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, amino acids, and a host of other vitamins and minerals. Magnesium promotes faster and better sleep, which is the reason why it’s used as a supplement to address insomnia. Potassium provides multiple benefits to help with sleeping problems. It helps in proper digestion, relaxes muscles, and normalizes blood pressure. Vitamin B6 is the nutrient needed to produce melatonin, the compound responsible for inducing sleepiness. This is why a banana a day helps you sleep better come night time!
Almonds – almonds aren’t only delicious to munch on or include in your favorite meals, but this is one nut that’s perfect for a better sleep. Almonds are rich in magnesium, which as mentioned earlier, is a natural relaxant. Another sleep-inducing nutrient that is found in almonds is tryptophan. This amino acid is a melatonin precursor and aids in the production of serotonin. Together, melatonin and serotonin are important compounds for bodily functions significantly impacting sleep rhythms and mood.
Carrots – In a study conducted by Pennsylvania University, it was found that alpha-carotene helps for a better and more restful sleep. Carrots have one of the highest alpha-carotene contents. To boot, it also contains other nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, and potassium that effectively stimulate sleep. Research also revealed that carrots help in melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that has a significant role in the regulation of your circadian rhythm.
Matcha green tea – one of the main components of matcha green tea that makes it perfect for better sleep quality is its dense L-theanine content, an amino acid that can induce calmness and relaxation. Its L-theanine content brings about pre-sleep relaxation, which is the precursor to better and longer sleep. Aside from this, matcha green tea is also seen to help reduce instances of sleep apnea. And while matcha green tea does contain caffeine, it is very minimal to cause any side effect. Matcha green tea is one of the richest sources of L-theanine.
Kale – numerous studies have shown that magnesium deficiency is the culprit behind sleeplessness and other sleep-related problems. Kale is rich in magnesium, it also is high in vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, and alpha-carotene. It’s a fact that magnesium is known as the sleep mineral because it neutralizes adrenaline, helping you feel relaxed and calm. At the same time, vitamin B6, potassium, and alpha-carotene all help in the regulation of sleep as well.
What you eat surely does impact your sleep and overall health. Besides this, your lifestyle can also impact your sleeping habits. While it’s good to tweak your diet plan to include these superfoods, a holistic approach to dealing with your sleeplessness can more effectively address it.
Rob did his master at UCLA and finished in 2019 and started working for Slowfoodnation almost immediately. He is one of the most positive people we’ve met and writes with true passion and professionality. In his free time he exercises and reads a lot.