We’ve discussed the importance of avoiding caffeine late in the day, but there are a number of foods and drinks that can help you feel asleep faster into a deeper rest.
Foods high in lean protein help increase serotonin levels because they carry the amino acid tryptophan.This gets turned into serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle that you’d otherwise get from sunlight exposure or a supplement. Other tryptophan-rich foods include poultry, dairy products, and seafood.
Avoid simple carbohydrates in white bread, refined pasta, and sugary pastries. These reduce serotonin levels and may contribute to general sleeplessness. Whole grains in your meals and snacks are a better alternative. Whole-wheat crackers, popcorn, and oatmeal are excellent options to provide proper nutrition without negatively affecting your hormones.
Nuts are a good source of heathy fats. Almonds and walnuts contain specifically contain tryptophan. Increasing sleep-conducive hormones through your diet is always preferable to taking a supplement, as it contains other essential nutrients.
The mineral magnesium is a natural relaxant that deactivates adrenaline to help wind down the body for sleep. Dark leafy greens like kale and baby spinach, as well as salmon, banana, avocados, and nuts are magnesium rich foods.
Vitamin B6 is another nutritional factor that helps convert tryptophan into melatonin. A lack of this vitamin has also been linked to depression and mood disorders associated with insomnia. The vitamin can be found in pistachio nuts, fish, and meat.
In place of coffee, drinks with essential vitamins and mineral for sleep include warm milk, almond milk, passion fruit tea, peppermint tea, and chamomile tea. For a general diet of sleep friendly foods, go for fish, nuts, dark green vegetables, bananas and avocados, and dairy products.