How many times have you lain awake in bed staring at the ceiling wishing your eyes would close and your body would just drift off to dreamworld?
The next morning, you’re feeling tired and groggy until the second your alarm goes off, forcing you to get up.
You are not alone.
Many people struggle with getting enough sleep regularly!
Insomnia is a condition that affects millions of people in the United States, and it can be caused by everything from stress to physical factors.
One common cause of insomnia is simply not eating the right foods that help you sleep! This blog post will offer vegan-friendly foods you can eat before bedtime to help prepare your body for deep sleep, so you wake up feeling refreshed and energized for the day ahead.
What You Eat Affects Your Quality of Sleep
Some foods help you sleep, while other foods fuel your insomnia.
Getting ready for bed must become a process if you need help falling asleep.
Taking an hour before bed to wind down and relax will make it easier for you to fall asleep because your actions signal your brain that it’s time to rest.
You should take a warm shower, brush your teeth, read something calming, avoid the blue rays electronics emit — no phone, no TV — switch on that red light, and then lie in bed.
When you’re getting ready for bed, try not to eat foods like popcorn or chips, since these high-fat snacks and foods will only cause inflammation in your brain while promoting weight gain.
Instead, choose foods from this list of five healthy foods that help you sleep.
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Foods That Help You Sleep
These five healthy foods will help promote your deepest, most restful night of slumber:
Almonds are a good source of magnesium and calcium, which are sleep-promoting essential minerals.
They also contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats, so they’re great at curbing your appetite. As a bonus, it won’t make you feel sluggish when it’s time to go to bed!
Incorporating a serving of almonds — about 23 nuts, a quarter cup, or an ounce — into your diet in the evening will help you fall asleep and sleep better.
2. Tart Cherry Juice
Cherry is a fruit that’s a great source of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.
Cherries are high in vitamin C and have the perfect amount of sugar to help you stay asleep all night long.
A small study of 20 people found that those who drank tart cherry juice concentrate for seven days experienced significant increases in sleep quality, sleep duration, and melatonin levels.
Drinking a glass of tart cherry juice — one ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate mixed in eight ounces of water — an hour before bedtime allows the body to fully integrate the effects of the cherry juice to provide you with the most intense sleep.
Tart cherry juice also regulates metabolism, boosts immunity, and fights inflammation, so not only is it good for sleep, it’s great for your body as well.
This is the perfect drink to have before bedtime.
If you’re not a fan of drinking tart cherry juice straight, add it into something like a green smoothie or enjoy it in foods and recipes that use cherries as an ingredient.
Remember, this is a bedtime drink. The fewer things you ingest before bed, the less work your body has to do while you’re sleeping. Don’t overload your body with work before bedtime. That’s a sure way to avoid getting a good night’s sleep.
3. Potassium Rich Foods
In a study conducted in 1991, the findings indicated that people slept better even though it took them a longer time than normal to fall asleep when they had taken potassium supplement, so you should add more potassium to your diet!
Potassium can be found in abundance in many fruits and vegetable foods, so be sure to incorporate foods with potassium into your diet for sleep-promoting benefits.
Foods rich in potassium include bananas, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes — which are a great source of magnesium, and vitamin B-complex foods we need to feel well-rested!
The recommended daily intake for an adult, with ages ranging 19–50: female’s suggested intake is 2,600 mg, and male’s suggested intake is 3,400 mg.
Foods Rich In Potassium
- Dried Apricots, ½ cup: 1,101 mg
- Cooked Lentils, 1 cup: 731 mg
- Dried Prunes, ½ cup: 699 mg
- Raisins, ½ cup: 618 mg
- Kidney beans, canned, 1 cup: 607 mg
- Orange juice, 1 cup: 496 mg
- Banana, 1 medium: 422 mg
- Raw Spinach, 2 cups: 334 mg
- Molasses, 1 tbsp: 308 mg
- Cashew, 1 ounce: 187 mg
- Whole Flaxseed, 1 tbsp: 84 mg
- Whole-Wheat Bread, 1 slice: 81 mg
- White Rice, medium-grain, cooked, 1 cup: 54 mg
Try to incorporate as much food as you can from the list above that is rich in potassium to aid in your sleep cycle.
Oats are one of the most effective grains to help you fall asleep. Unlike other cereals, oats contain an amino acid called tryptophan that is converted by your brain into serotonin. This relaxes both body and mind before falling asleep.
Oatmeal is also an excellent source of manganese and fiber, which not only helps promote a healthy digestive system but it will keep you full all night long. Say goodbye to midnight snacking!
There are many benefits to including oats in your diet besides getting better sleep. They are also full of protein and magnesium which will keep your skin healthy.
The best way to eat oats is by enjoying them in foods such as oatmeal or overnight oats before bedtime so you can get all the benefits of this power food!
6. Chamomile Tea
What to drink to sleep faster?
Chamomile is a sleep-inducing tea that is one of the best teas to help you sleep faster.
Taken about 30 minutes or a few hours before bed, this herbal tea will soothe your nerves and calm you down. It also helps you to relax enough that you’ll fall asleep without a problem in no time.
Chamomile tea can be made by steeping dried chamomile flowers in hot water for a few minutes.
Don’t forget to enjoy a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime for the best night’s sleep!
Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime
- High glycemic index foods; foods high in sugar
- Junk foods like potato chips, French fries, and donuts
- Caffeine-containing foods such as chocolate or coffee; alcohol
- Food with preservatives or artificial colors
- Processed foods that contain high amounts of sodium
- Avoid foods that are rich in fiber and protein
These types of foods are difficult on the stomach when it is trying to rest. If you must eat something before bed, consume light foods such as a salad with foods such as tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, oatmeal or overnight oats, or a cup of chamomile tea.
Some foods with a lot of fibers like brown rice, lentil soup, or beans can make it difficult to fall asleep because the body has to work harder at digesting them. Eat those types of food early in the day so the body will have enough time to properly digest them without making you feel bloated, irritated, or uncomfortable when it’s time to sleep.
Stop Midnight Snacking!
If you have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night to go forage through your kitchen or “secret stash” snack drawers, you have sabotaged your sleep cycle.
Waking up to eat because you’re hungry simply means you didn’t eat a balanced, filling, and healthy meal during the day.
Try to eat foods that are high in protein and fiber so you’ll feel full longer. If your body has adequate energy stored, it won’t wake up as much during the night for a snack.
Your body needs to relax during your sleep, not working tirelessly to digest the foods you keep eating during the night.
If you’re worried about hunger pangs while sleeping, eat foods throughout the day that will help curb your appetite until morning.
You Control Your Sleep Quality
Insomnia is a serious condition that can be worsened by mental and physical problems, alcohol consumption, or emotional distress.
If insomnia persists for more than one week without an apparent cause, it may be time to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. To promote healthy sleep habits, you need to have a healthy lifestyle.
Sleep is a key component to living a healthy lifestyle, so make sure you’re giving your body the foods it needs to promote deep, restful sleep.
As a last word of warning, sleep deprivation can be a primary culprit of weight gain. When you are tired and lack energy, your metabolism slows down. This makes you want to eat more food than usual to feel better. It’s a vicious cycle!
Incorporating foods that help you fall asleep and have a better sleep quality will keep you healthy and looking your best.
Which foods do you eat before bedtime?
Are they unhealthy or nutritious? Let us know in the comments below!