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5 Foods That Help With Sleep

5 Foods That Help With Sleep

  • 5 min read

It’s no secret that proper nutrition can improve the quality of our lives. 

Eating a balanced diet of whole foods, leafy greens, fruit, vegetables, and the proper amounts of carbohydrates and protein can make all the difference in how you feel. 

However, how many foods do you select on the basis of improving your night’s rest? 

Over 70 million people in the United States suffer from at least one sleep disorder. Diet changes are part of the treatment plan for some sleep disorders. 

For example, those who suffer from sleep apnea may consume a certain sleep apnea diet designed to keep inflammation low in the body. 

Nutrition plays a role in our general health, so it’s not far-fetched that certain foods affect the quality of our sleep. 

That’s why we’ve rounded up five of the best foods that help with sleep! 

1. Kiwis

Kiwis are low in calories but high in nutrition. They’re known for being rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, among many other key nutrients. 

These fruits are also well-known for being one of the best foods to eat before you turn in for the night. They’re an essential component of most sleep apnea diets. 

Research shows that eating a kiwi at least one hour before bed may help you drift off to bed 42 percent quicker than if you didn’t eat anything before sleep. 

Furthermore, participants who ate a kiwi before bed increased the longevity of their sleep by 5 percent. Their total sleep time also went up by 13 percent over the four-week study period. 

We know that kiwis may help us fall and stay asleep, but why? It may all tie back to serotonin. 

Kiwis are high in serotonin, a hormone that functions in the brain as a neurotransmitter that is critical to many aspects of sleep. 

Serotonin helps to trigger the onset of sleep and helps regulate our brain’s movement through each stage of sleep to properly complete several sleep cycles throughout the night. 

Serotonin is also known to boost the level of melatonin in the body, which is known to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. 

Kiwis aren’t the only sleep-boosting food, though. If you’re a cheese lover, you’re in luck. 

2. Cheese

Every Thanksgiving, it seems like everyone talks about how turkey makes you feel sleepy after your holiday meal. 

This is thanks to tryptophan and its reaction in the body. Tryptophan is an amino acid known for helping the body create melatonin and feel drowsy. 

Cheddar cheese contains much more tryptophan than turkey, making it an even better source of that drowsy post-snack feeling. 

You also may have heard that cheese can cause nightmares, which might encourage you to avoid eating it before bed. Turns out, this is just a rumor. 

 

@somnifix Does #cheese cause nightmares? #factorcap #tryptophan #cheeselover #cheesetok #sleep #didyouknow #learnontiktok ♬ Love You So - The King Khan & BBQ Show

 

Research from the British Cheese Board, although a biased source, found that 75 percent of participants in their cheese study reported a good night’s rest after eating cheese. 

The same study suggests that the type of cheese you eat may influence the types of dreams you have, but further research is needed. 

Results were a bit wacky, including: 

  • Cheddar cheese may cause dreams about celebrities
  • Red Leicester might lead to dreams about childhood
  • Chesire cheese causes the absence of dreams
  • Lancashire cheese might make you dream about work 

If you’re looking for something tasty to pair with your nightly cheese snack, look no further than some walnuts!

3. Walnuts

Walnuts may not be the most obvious bedtime snack, but they’re perfect for improving both your health quality and sleep quality. 

Walnuts contain more alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than any other nut. ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid known for being an anti-inflammatory. 

Additionally, walnuts are packed full of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and magnesium. 

Magnesium regulates the neurotransmitters in our brains, regulates melatonin, and even binds to GABA receptors in the brain known to help us relax and drift off at night. 

Fatty fish is also known for being an excellent source of omega-3s, but that’s not all fish is good for. 

4. Fish

Certain types of fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or trout are known for boosting brain and heart health. 

But they’re also a great source of vitamin D, which many of us are deficient in. By upping your intake of this nutrient, sleep duration is proven to increase

In combination with omega-3s found in fish, vitamin D works to increase serotonin levels. 

Men who ate 10.5 ounces of salmon at least three times per week over a six-month period were found to fall asleep ten minutes faster than other study participants who ate chicken, beef, or pork instead. 

Your waistline may thank you for eating more fatty fish, too. 

A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon only has around 200 calories and is thought to reduce appetite, boost metabolism, and decrease belly fat

Another important element of nutrition necessary for better sleep? Potassium. 

5. Bananas

Bananas are well-known for their high levels of potassium. Potassium can prevent and relieve muscle cramps, regulate heartbeat, and even help with sleep. 

Low potassium levels are known to disturb sleep, but supplementing potassium to an appropriate level may help to correct many sleep issues. 

Moreover, bananas contain loads of vitamin B6, which is necessary for melatonin production and known to induce rest. 

Bananas are also an effective dietary source of sleep-enhancing magnesium. 

Grab a whole banana before you turn in for the night or use bananas to make a sleepy-time smoothie. However, if you’re on a specific sleep apnea diet, it may serve you right to avoid bananas as much as possible. 

Although bananas are one of the top foods that help with sleep, they boost mucus production, which is thought to worsen breathing problems as you sleep. 

Now that you’ve got a lineup of great, nutritious foods known to boost sleep, consider that you may need to examine more than just your diet. 

If you suffer from dysfunctional breathing at night, the foods you choose to eat may not make as big of an impact as they otherwise would. 

It May Not Be What You Put IN Your Mouth

Even if you’re eating all the right foods that help with sleep, you might still wake up with a dry mouth or feeling groggy. 

An unhealthy airway or breathing pattern is known to cause sleep disturbances. Over time, poor airway health is known to cause sleep disorders like sleep apnea. 

Even if you’re eating a special preventative sleep apnea diet by consuming the foods we’ve rounded up in this list, you’d need nightly treatment for the rest of your life if you developed this condition. 

Switching from mouth breathing at night to nasal breathing lowers your risk for snoring, poor sleep, and sleep apnea over time. 

However, you can’t ensure that your lips are sealed if you’re asleep. That’s where mouth tape comes in handy. (Yep, you read that right!)

What you choose to putover your mouth is just as important as what you putin your mouth when it comes to improving sleep. 

SomniFix Mouth Strips are hypoallergenic, gluten-free, and latex-free, meaning our strips won’t irritate any existing allergies you may have. 

After eating your sleep-boosting bedtime snack, pop on a SomniFix Mouth Strip to fall and stay asleep quicker and longer than you ever have before! 

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