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Nine foods to help you sleep

sleep

sleepIt’s no secret that sipping teas like chamomile and valerian before bed can help you sleep. But did you know that your evening meal can also be used as a strategic tool to help you enjoy a better night’s sleep? Based on key nutrients and chemicals, these sleep-enhancing foods can help you catch those much-needed ZZZs and wake up feeling refreshed.

Almonds

Loaded with potassium and B vitamins, almonds can actively calm the nervous system and help your body slip into shut-eye mode. Try topping your Asian stir-fry with toasted almond slithers or indulge in a spoon of almond butter before bed.

Bananas

While bananas may be more synonymous with breakfast than dinner, this underrated fruit is also full of potassium and B complex vitamins, two powerful insomnia-fighting ingredients.

Brown rice

Swap starchy white rice for its brown counterpart, which is rich in a natural sedative known as GABA. Short for gamma-amino butyric acid, the amino acid works to pacify the nervous system and promote sleep. Furthermore, simple carbohydrates like white rice can also reduce serotonin levels, which can hinder the quality of your slumber.

Fresh herbs

Who knew that fresh herbs like basil and sage boast sleep-inducing properties that can ease tension in the body and encourage sleep. Just don’t add seasonings like red or black pepper as this can stimulate the body and keep you up.

Cherries

A natural melatonin releaser, cherries can be a great way to promote a healthy sleep/wake cycle. Not only can they be a great pre-bed snack, but the sweet stone fruits can also be used to combat jetlag or reset your circadian rhythm if you’ve been suffering from sleepless nights.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are high in vitamin B6, which is a key ingredient needed to produce melatonin. The hormone is produced by the pineal gland and is often used to treat sleeping disorders. For this reason, a tasty chickpea curry or hummus snack can be an easy way to enjoy a quality snooze.

Lean protein

High in amino acid tryptophan, lean proteins like fish, turkey and cheese can help boost serotonin levels and enhance sleep. They’re also much easier to digest than their high-fat counterparts which can often keep people awake at night.

Kale

More than just a superfood, kale is an excellent source of magnesium. Given that deficiencies in the chemical element can be a major cause of insomnia, loading up your plate with the leafy green can be a clever way to keep your magnesium levels in check.

Walnuts

Not only are walnuts delicious, but they’re also a fantastic source of tryptophan, a sleep-friendly amino acid that is used to produce serotonin. Snacking on a handful of walnuts in the evening can help decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure and get your body ready for a deep sleep.

Do you have any tried and tested foods to promote sleep? Whether they’re backed by science or simply come with your own personal seal of approval, we’d love to hear your secrets.