When people look to get better sleep at night, sometimes the answer is as close as the kitchen. By incorporating different foods in our diet, we can increase the chance for a better night’s rest.
The food we eat, especially in the evenings, can significantly impact the way we sleep at night. For example, a 2016 study found that “men who consume diets high in fat are more likely to feel sleepy during the day, to report sleep problems at night, and are also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.”
Here are three ways you can sleep better naturally with a better sleep diet*:
Relax with Herbal Tea
Herbal teas have long been used in natural medicine to treat various ailments. For example, chamomile tea has been used to treat inflammation. Also, valerian root has been used because of its sedative qualities.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in many teas (especially green tea), may play a part in helping you fall asleep at night. A 2014 study states that it promotes “feelings of calmness and decreasing alertness.”
If you decide to brew a steaming cup of tea before bedtime, just make sure you don’t choose one with a high caffeine content!
Related: 5 Natural Sleep Aids to Try
Boost Your Melatonin with Tryptophan
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means our body requires it to survive. However, our bodies do not naturally produce tryptophan, so we have to get it from other sources.
Tryptophan helps the body create serotonin. Serotonin can then convert to melatonin, which can help keep the timing of your sleep on a regular schedule.
You might be thinking, “So, I just need to eat more turkey sandwiches, right?” Unfortunately, it’s not so easy.
A 2007 study states, “purified tryptophan and foods containing tryptophan have different effects on brain serotonin. Although purified tryptophan increases brain serotonin, foods containing tryptophan do not.”
However, all hope is not lost! The same study goes on to state that incorporating more tryptophan in a diet could help reduce rates of depression and aggression. The study states, “the possibility that the mental health of a population could be improved by increasing the dietary intake of tryptophan … should be explored.”
Overall, tryptophan-rich foods could help put you in a better mood, which might lead to better sleep. However, you’ll have to go for a pure supplement if you want to see your serotonin levels increase.
Common dietary sources of tryptophan-rich foods:
- Peanut butter
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
See a full list here: Tryptophan: Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia
Unwind with Magnesium
Magnesium plays an important role in many bodily functions. In relation to sleep, it can help decrease cortisol, “the stress hormone.”
This article from Health Ambition states “What are the best forms of magnesium and how to choose the best supplement for improving your health.”
Common dietary sources of magnesium:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Cashew Nuts
- Dark Chocolate
Sleep Better Naturally
Looking for more natural ways to sleep better? Trying a light-blocking SleepSwag sleep mask is a great idea!
Using an eye mask at night is a great way to block out distractions that negatively impact your sleep cycle.
Click here to browse our online store. We have plenty of stylish designs (for every personality) that we can ship right to your door!
—The SleepSwag Team
*We’re not here to diagnose or to treat anyone. We’re just crazy sleep lovers who want to make people happy and sleep better through the use of sleep masks, which you can find here in our shop. If you have concerns about your health, or are thinking about making changes to your diet or lifestyle, we always recommend consulting a trusted doctor first.