Let’s face it—lack of sleep can make your whole day harder. Dragging through your day can take a toll on all aspects of your life—your work, relationships, and self-care are all likely to suffer without adequate amounts of Zzz’s.
Research shows inadequate sleep can affect your mood, appetite, focus, and long-term health. If you struggle with getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night, adding certain foods to your weekly routine may help.
Lack of Sleep and Overall Health
When it comes to long-term health, getting enough sleep has been associated with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and reduced immunity. Additionally, if you combine stress with lack of sleep, it can closely impact your daily food choices and contribute to food cravings.
Here are several foods you can add to your evening routine to improve your shut eye.
Known for being both a satisfying and heart-healthy snack, almonds may also help you get more shut eye. Like most nuts, almonds are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycle, or circadian rhythm.
Additionally, almonds contain the mineral magnesium, which plays an important role in reducing inflammation and cortisol in the body. This can help with getting a better night’s sleep.
A serving of almonds is one ounce, which is 23 almonds or about ¼ cup. Enjoy a handful of almonds with some Greek yogurt for added tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a natural sleep aid.
Opting for a kiwi after dinner can satisfy your sweet tooth with a nutrient boost. It’s one of the top foods to eat before bed due to its promising effect on sleep quality and duration.
In one study, eating kiwis before bed has been associated with falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, and reducing the number of times subjects woke up in the middle of the night.
These effects are thought to be due to kiwi’s naturally occurring serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, as well as the antioxidants vitamin C and carotenoids, which can reduce inflammation in the body and result in a more restful night’s sleep.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, and mackerel, provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D. These nutrients are heart-healthy and have been shown to play an important role in sleep quality. Both nutrients have been associated with helping to increase levels serotonin.
For optimal health, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating 2 servings of fish (particularly fatty fish) each week. A serving is 3.5 ounce cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish.
If you’re not in the mood to cook before bed, it doesn’t get much easier than peeling a banana. This popular fruit contains several nutrients that promote relaxation and quality sleep, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6.
Since bananas are easy for the body to digest, they make a smart bedtime snack. If you’re extra hungry, enjoy a banana with some natural peanut butter for added tryptophan, which may enhance sleep quality.
Long associated with breakfast, enjoying a bowl of oatmeal at bedtime may be just the thing for more shut eye. Oats contain a variety of nutrients associated with better sleep, including complex carbs, magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan.
Make a batch of overnight oats with kiwi and almonds in advance for a healthy and soothing bedtime snack that’s ready to go when you need it.