By: Ann Agapis, York JCC Life Coach:
Getting the recommended seven (or more) hours of sleep per night can benefit everything from our immune system to our mood. Unfortunately, more than a third of Americans struggle to reach this goal.
A healthy diet plays an important role in loading up on the zzz’s. It is important to remember when it’s getting close to bedtime, make sure you’re steering clear of heavy fried foods, alcohol, caffeine (like coffee, tea, and energy drinks), and heartburn-inducers such as tomato sauce or orange juice. Look to minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron to kickstart the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep regulation.
Stick to the late-night snacks listed below, and good night’s sleep will be yours.
- Watermelon– Dehydration can impact your ability to fall and stay asleep, choosing watery fruits like watermelon can make up for any deficits. This will hydrate you before bed and eliminate post-dinner hunger pains due to the fiber and volume.
- Kale – Like yogurt, this leafy green is also rich in calcium which is important in making those sleep hormones go to work.
- Bananas – They are high in potassium which helps to keep you asleep throughout the night. It also has tryptophan and magnesium which are natural sedatives.
- Whole Grains – These grains encourage insulin production that result in tryptophan activity in the brain. They also have magnesium which is said to help you stay asleep. When magnesium levels are too low, you are more likely to wake up during the night.
- Honey – Glucose in honey lowers levels of orexin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you more alert. Honey will put that alertness in reverse.
- Nuts – This includes walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. These all boost serotonin levels by having magnesium and tryptophan.
- Herbal Tea– There are tons of snooze-promoting properties in chamomile tea. It is also excellent for calming nerves before bedtime. Ginger tea can also be hydrating and stomach-soothing.