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Eat Well, Sleep Well, and Reduce Stress

Posted by Lisa Edwards on

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"You are what you eat", we have all heard this expression. But did you know that healthy eating can help you get through stressful days and lead to a better night's sleep? There are some foods you can add to your diet that may help to increase your odds of a successful slumber. 

There are nutrients such as vitamin B6, melatonin, calcium and foods high on the glycemic index, that can help you fall asleep. There are others such as, magnesium and potassium that are thought to help you stay asleep. You just need to know what to look for in the grocery aisles. Here are a few suggestions that you may find helpful:

Fish

Vitamin B6 which is needed to naturally make melatonin is found in most fish. It is especially high in salmon, halibut and tuna.

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice digests slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream. Consuming jasmine rice four hours before bedtime can cut the amount of time it takes to fall asleep verses eating lower glycemic index long-grain rice at the same time interval. High-glycemic-index meals may up the production of tryptophan. 

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid; only taken in by your diet, your body cannot produce it. .The body uses tryptophan to help make niacin and serotonin. Serotonin is thought to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood.

Tart Cherry Juice

Cherries are one of the few natural foods that contain melatonin. Melatonin is the chemical that helps control our body’s internal clock. It has been found that drinking tart cherry juice resulted in small improvements in sleep duration and quality in adults who suffered from chronic insomnia.

Calcium Rich Foods

Dairy products like yogurt and milk contain healthy doses of calcium—and there’s research that correlates calcium-deficiency and difficulty falling asleep. Milk also contains the amino acid tryptophan which is essential in making serotonin.  Green leafy vegetables, such as kale and collards, also boost healthy doses of calcium.

Whole Grains

Bulgur, barley, quinoa, and buckwheat are rich in magnesium which science has shown to improve may help you stay asleep longer.

Bananas

Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin. Bananas help promote sleep because they contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. They also contain carbs which will help make you sleepy.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas contain vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin.

Fortified Cereals


Fortified cereals also boast vitamin B6. Consuming a bowl of healthy complex carbs fortified with vitamin B6 served with milk is a great choice of eating well to promote better sleep.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes, not only provide sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates, they also contain potassium, which acts as a muscle relaxant.

So no more lumpy pillow nights...eat foods rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium and calcium to help promote a better night's sleep. In addition, avoid foods such as alcohol, caffeine and sugary desserts before bedtime. Sleep well, eat well and stress less to experience a better day.