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5 Foods to Help You Sleep Better

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sleep

The foods we eat can dramatically affect how much and how well we sleep. Some foods and beverages calm and relax, while some stimulate the nervous system, keeping you up all night.

1. Carbohydrates

Eating carbs increases the level of tryptophan in your blood, which the body converts into serotonin – a sleep-inducing brain chemical that slows nerve impulses and promotes calm. While more research is needed, sleep researchers generally agree that including a carbohydrate, particularly slow-burning carbs (beans, pasta, quinoa, sweet potato) to your evening meal will help you sleep more soundly.

2. Chamomile Tea

This caffeine-free herbal tea contains Chrysin – a type of antioxidant found in the chamomile often promoted for its relaxing properties and its sedative effect. It’s a good alternative to coffee and black or green tea, which will contain caffeine.

3. Cherries

These summer seasonal fruits are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that is essential for regulating sleep patterns. Melatonin is made in the brain and is released to induce drowsiness, lower body temperature and put the body into sleep mode. When there is an increased level of melatonin in your body, it helps you sleep better.

4. Almonds

A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can send you snoozing because they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium. The unsaturated fats found in nuts also improve 

5. Bananas

Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle and nerve relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both. Bananas are also rich in B-vitamins, which convert tryptophan into serotonin, helping you relax even more.

What to Avoid

Limit the amount of caffeine you consume at least 4 hours before going to bed. Caffeine may make it difficult to fall asleep and may also cause you to sleep more lightly.
Avoid large meals at night, aim to eat your evening meal at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Alcohol may help you to relax and fall asleep in the short term, but it can disrupt sleep over the course of the night and keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep.
Avoid exercise at least 2-3 hours before going to bed to avoid raising your body temperature too high for a comfortable nights sleep.

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