What you eat before you go to bed can make or break how well you sleep at night. Here are 10 foods that will help you sleep as well as recipes!
We have all heard a lot about foods and beverages not to have just before bed: alcohol, sugars (both stimulants), spicy food (potential heart burn), too much water (excessive trips to the bathroom) but you hardly ever hear about foods that can help us get some rest. Well, here are 10 foods to help you sleep. Keep these in the pantry to snack on if you can’t sleep. Don’t miss the scrumptious muffin recipe!
- Bananas — When I was little I thought bananas gave me nightmares but in hindsight maybe I was just actually in a deeper sleep after I ate them… Something to think about. So, what I’ve found in my research is that they’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. They are full of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.
- Warm milk — It’s not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan, an amino acid that has a sedative-like effect, and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus, there’s the psychological throwback to infancy, when a warm bottle meant “relax, everything’s fine.” – Mom does always know best.
- Kale – Can’t have dairy? This green leafy vegetable and and collards, also boast healthy doses of calcium. And research suggests that being calcium deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Chamomile tea — Chamomile is a staple of bedtime tea blends because of its mild sedating effect, which makes it the perfect natural antidote for restless minds and bodies.
- Honey — Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Again, lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.
- Potatoes — A small baked spud won’t overwhelm your gastrointestinal tract as it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effect, mash the potato with warm milk. Have I ever mentioned I’m from Idaho? Well, I’m sure you know, we are pretty proud of our potatoes. Only the best! FUN FACT: Ore/Ida is short for Oregon and Idaho. Ha!
- 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. They also have good fats we all need.
- Flaxseeds — When life goes awry, and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.
- Whole-wheat bread — A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it’s converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs “time to sleep.”
- Turkey — It’s the best-known source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that’s actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach’s basically empty rather than overstuffed and when there are some carbs around rather than tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread midevening and you’ve got one of the best sleep-inducers in your kitchen.
Here’s a link to 7 Recipes to help you sleep I found on-line and here is one we have made at our house.
Between the bananas, the carb, and the light touch of sweetness, these muffins are practically an edible lullaby.
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or coconut flower to make them gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large, very ripe bananas
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk or soymilk
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour (make sure it’s whole-wheat pastry flour or you’ll produce golf balls, not muffins), salt, and baking powder. In a blender, puree the bananas; add the applesauce, honey, and milk. Blend well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups and pour in batter. Bake 30 minutes or until tops are lightly brown and slightly springy. Makes 12 low-fat muffins.