Getting enough sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep helps our bodies perform a number of crucial processes, helps boost immunity, improve brain health, and prevent chronic illnesses. 1 Healthcare professionals recommend between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. 2 However, getting enough sleep every night can be difficult. There are various lifestyle changes that can help you to sleep better and more consistently, including adding the following foods to your diet.
The Best Foods for a Better Night’s Sleep
Improve sleep by eating more of these foods, especially toward the end of the day.
Almonds are a good source of the hormone melatonin, which signals to your body that it is time to prepare for sleep. 3 Not only that, but almonds also contain magnesium, which may help those who suffer from insomnia to sleep better. 4 Try snacking on almonds, adding sliced almonds to salads, or toss some chopped almonds into your favorite baking recipe.
Research shows that eating kiwi an hour before bed can improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep. 5 Kiwi helps the body produce serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates sleep. Kiwi is also a good source of natural anti-inflammatories, including Vitamin C and carotenoids, which help to ease inflammation that can make sleep difficult. 6 Try snacking on kiwi slices before bed, adding fresh or frozen kiwi to smoothies, or topping your favorite frozen dessert with chopped kiwi.
There’s a reason why some people swear by a mug of warm milk before bed. Dairy products like milk and cheese contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps synthesize melatonin and serotonin, both of which promote deeper sleep and help treat insomnia. 7 Try sipping warm milk or an herbal tea latte before bed, or snack on cheese and crackers in the evening. (*for those not sensitive to dairy)
Like dairy, turkey is a good source of tryptophan and is known for its ability to promote sleep. 8 In addition to tryptophan, the protein in turkey also works to improve sleep. Consuming protein in the hours leading up to bedtime decreases the likelihood of waking up in the night and can improve sleep consistency. 9 Turkey doesn’t just have to be for Thanksgiving, try adding ground turkey to spaghetti sauce, swap your beef burgers for turkey burgers, and add turkey to sandwiches and wraps.
If you are struggling to get enough sleep on a regular basis, making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can make all the difference. Try consuming more of the foods listed above, create a relaxing bedtime routine and commit to practicing it every night, and speak to a naturopathic doctor for professional advice on the best way to improve your sleep hygiene in a way that is tailored to your life.