Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or do you wake up often during the night? You are not alone: More than 60% of adults also suffer from sleeping problems. Tossing back and forth in bed is not only frustrating, but sleep loss can also lead to increased stress and thereby to health problems. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet and regular exercise are very important for a healthy lifestyle. Are you training for a marathon? You are guaranteed to perform better with a good night’s sleep.
Before turning to pills to help you sleep, you should give the following seven foods a chance. When eaten in the evening, they can help you fall asleep easier and ensure a night of deep, restful slumber.
You can’t sleep? Then eat a banana. Its high potassium content can also help with calf cramps during the night. Plus, the fruit is packed with magnesium which is important for muscle relaxation and thus deeper sleep. Try drinking a glass of homemade banana milk before bedtime. The milk contains casein, a slow-release protein, which is also known as the “night-time protein” because it provides your body with protein for hours and prevents muscle loss while you sleep.
2. Herbal tea
You have probably heard that herbal tea is supposed to help you sleep. But what kinds are best for making you sleepy? Chamomile tea has long been used to treat sleeping disorders. Researchers believe that its soothing effect is probably due to the flavonoid apigenin, a secondary metabolite. Lavender, valerian and mint teas are also known to relax the body.
But don’t drink black tea or green tea right before bed because they are stimulants and will keep you awake.
3. Pumpkin seeds
The next time you make pumpkin wedges, don’t throw away the seeds. Just roast them in a pan (without oil) for the perfect snack. You can improve the quality of your sleep by simply munching on a few pumpkin seeds while you watch TV in the evening. 50 g of pumpkin seeds contain about 200 mg of magnesium, which is almost enough to satisfy your entire daily requirement. This mineral helps your muscles relax – an important factor for getting some quality shuteye.
How about having pesto salmon and vegetables for dinner? Studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish can reduce stress and thus help you relax. Salmon also contains vitamin B6, which boosts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
It may come as a surprise, but cherries make for good bedtime treats. Drinking 1 glass (250ml/ 16oz) of cherry juice before bed can increase the melatonin levels in your blood. This then improves the quality of your sleep. The hormone melatonin regulates your sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm).
Fresh cherries can also have this effect. If the seasonal fruit is not available, then just snack on some dried cherries between meals.
6. (Sweet) potatoes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are not only valuable sources of complex carbohydrates, but they are also rich in potassium. This mineral can help you relax in the evening, thus improving the quality of your sleep. Plus, there’s nothing better than homemade fries: Wash and dry the potatoes thoroughly. Then cut them into wedges, toss them in olive oil and spices and bake them in the oven for at least 30 minutes.
A cup of cocoa before bed can work wonders, especially on cold fall and winter days. It not only warms you from inside, but it also makes you sleepy. Why? Because of the tryptophan found in unsweetened cocoa powder. You can heighten the effect of the cocoa by adding a little almond milk, which also contains tryptophan. This essential amino acid helps stabilize the body’s serotonin levels. A shortage of serotonin, on the other hand, can lead to sleep disorders.