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7 Foods That May Help You Get a Better Night's Sleep

You’ve heard the saying "you are what you eat," but how about "what you eat, helps you sleep?" Well, that may not be as catchy, but there are some foods that are recommended before bedtime because they help promote sleep!

The psychological effect of warm milk (because many of us drank it as children) helps to create a relaxing bedtime routine, and could promote a good night’s sleep, Sleep Foundation reports. The publication also suggests a cup of herbal tea without caffeine, such as chamomile, ginger, or peppermint, which tend to have a calming effect.

When getting ready for bed, you may benefit from eating fruits that contain melatonin. Sleep Foundation notes that bananas, pineapples, tart cherries, and oranges are all good options, but specifically mentions eating two kiwis every night for a month for those who have insomnia—it is thought that the consumption of kiwis over this period, can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep by up to an hour.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish before bed, you may be tempted to have a piece of toast, but Good Housekeeping reports that baked sweet potatoes are a much better option. "Sweet potatoes are great sources of potassium, magnesium, and calcium to help you relax," Jaclyn London, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute says.

Eating nuts before bed can also be beneficial. Healthline recommends almonds because they are a source of melatonin and also contain magnesium. Good Housekeeping recommends pistachios because they contain protein, vitamin B6, and magnesium, which help promote sleep. But don’t consume more than a 1-ounce portion.

Red meat should be avoided before bed, but the same cannot be said for turkey. According to Healthline, turkey is rich in protein and minerals, including tryptophan. Although more scientific research is needed on how exactly turkey affects sleep, the publication notes that eating moderate amounts of protein has been linked to an improved quality of sleep.

You may feel weird eating oatmeal at bedtime, but Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC, told Good Housekeeping it may be just what you need for a better night's rest. "They raise your blood sugar naturally and make you feel sleepy,” she explained. She also says oats are a good source of melatonin.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that while these foods are great before bed, others will keep you up longer. According to Delish, cruciferous vegetables are filled with vitamins, but their high fiber content also means they will take longer to digest, and eating them before bed could prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. Red meat tends to have the same effect as your broccoli and cauliflower would, but in this case, because of the high protein content.

It’s also best to avoid cured meats and cheeses because they contain the amino acid tyramine, which will keep you awake, and dark chocolate because it contains caffeine.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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