Tossing and turning at night? Unable to fall asleep? Groggy in the morning? Poor sleep can make everything else in life feel wrong.
You’ve probably tried all the usual recommendations: block out the light; turn off devices; follow a schedule; etc.
But what if the foods you eat could be affecting your sleep?
An article recently published in Nutrients reviewed 32 different studies on sleep and diet. Here’s what they found to improve sleep:
- Tryptophan-rich foods (like seeds, cheese, and meats)
- Zinc supplements and zinc-rich foods (like oysters)
- Phlorotannins (a supplement derived from brown algae)
- Chlorophytum bovivilianum and Velvet Bean supplements
- Cherries (Jerte Valley cherries and Montmorency tart cherries) which contains melatonin, the hormone of sleep produced by the pineal gland.
There was mixed evidence on what balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat is best for sleep. Some studies showed carbohydrates to help, but others showed potential benefits of ketosis.
The reason foods and nutrients have such an effect on sleep is probably because of their influence on serotonin and melatonin. The more we can boost our melatonin levels at night, the sounder we’ll sleep.
Here is a list of foods that may help you sleep better. Notice that some are carbohydrate laden, which I usually avoid but adequate sleep is important for maintaining your physiologic homeostasis! Our bodies reset themselves and heal while we’re sleeping.
- Almonds: A good source of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and magnesium which regulates bowel function and helps your sleep.
- Turkey: It is high in amounts of protein and tryptophan to improve melatonin production.
- Kiwi: Rich in antioxidants and serotonin which promotes well being and happiness.
- Tart cherry juice: Contains melatonin.
- Fatty Fish: Salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna are rich in Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fatty Acids which both have properties to help you sleep.
- Chamomile Tea: Contains anti-oxidants which promote sleepiness.
- Passionflower Tea: Increase GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces stress.
- White Rice: The carbohydrate which promotes a high glycemic index but provides thiamine and folate. As we all know, carbohydrates can make you tired. Just don’t overdo them.
- Walnuts: A great source of natural fat and melatonin.
- Dairy: Milk, cottage cheese and yogurt for their tryptophan content. Bananas: They contain melatonin and magnesium.
- Oatmeal: Also contains melatonin.
Tell me—what about sleep do you struggle with most? If you have a sleep disturbance (meaning you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep) you may have a hormone imbalance.
Book a consult at www.healthwithoutrisk.com and I’ll help you figure it out. Reach out at email@example.com if you have questions. Adequate sleep is probably the number one thing you can do to improve your health.
Binks H, E Vincent G, Gupta C, Irwin C, Khalesi S. Effects of Diet on Sleep: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2020; 12: