Many of us struggle to get enough sleep each night. Research suggests we should get six to eight hours of sleep every night, but 40 percent of adults get less than six hours of sleep on average. Getting enough sleep supports healthy brain function, emotional well-being, physical health, and better performance at work and school, and decreases the risk of heart and kidney disease. Diet plays a huge role in preventing and managing chronic diseases -- but did you know that the foods we eat can affect how we sleep? If you are having trouble sleeping, try changing some of the foods in your diet and what you eat before bed. Here are some foods that promote better sleep:
Almonds: There are so many amazing health benefits of almonds. They have been associated with lowering heart disease and improving type 2 diabetes. They contain healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. It has also been shown that almonds can help boost sleep quality. Almonds contain the sleep regulating hormone melatonin and are a good source of magnesium -- a nutrient linked to improving sleep quality.
Turkey: Have you ever felt like you needed a nap after your Thanksgiving turkey dinner? That is because turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of melatonin. Some evidence suggests that consuming moderate amounts of protein on an empty stomach or with carbohydrates before bed is associated with better sleep quality.
Chamomile Tea: Some studies have shown that drinking chamomile tea may boost your immune system, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve skin health. Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin that binds certain receptors in your brain, which may promote sleepiness.
Kiwi: In a recent small study, 24 adults consumed two kiwis one hour before bed each night. It was found that these adults fell asleep 42 percent faster than they did if they didn’t eat anything at all. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Kiwis have an abundant amount of serotonin in them.
Tart Cherry Juice: Tart cherry juice has been used in studies to help relieve insomnia because it contains melatonin. A recent study found that adults who drank eight ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks slept longer and reported better sleep quality.
If you are having difficulty sleeping, it may be time to switch up the foods you eat. Try adding almonds, kiwis or tart cherry juice to your diet.
Written by: Hanna Stringer, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.