If you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, it may be time to consider whether your diet is playing a role and adjust accordingly. There are a few common-sense rules — for example, lay off the caffeine at night and if you suffer from gastric reflux, try to avoid spicy or oily foods that might keep you up out of discomfort.
If you want to go one step further, some research suggests that certain foods might help you feel sleepy, fall asleep more quickly, and sleep more deeply. But give your body some time to digest any pre-bedtime snacks before turning in for the night — around 30 minutes should do the trick.
In a 2012 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers asked participants to consume either a placebo or some tart cherry juice concentrate every day for a week. The group who drank the cherry juice had “significantly elevated” melatonin levels, plus “significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency total.”
Herbal teas like chamomile are a popular pre-bed drink, and studies suggest that chamomile has mild sedative properties. However, as one literature review found, there’s little hard data on chamomile’s effectiveness, and how it works isn’t fully understood either.
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“Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which help to relax overstressed muscles,” Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D. told Woman’s Day in 2016. “They also contain tryptophan, which convert to serotonin and melatonin, the brain’s key calming hormones.”
Orange juice or pineapple juice.
A 2013 study in the Journal of Pineal Research found that tropical fruit juices helped participants raise their “serum melatonin concentrations.”
Magnesium supplements, or foods containing a lot of magnesium.
Magnesium is thought to help “relax” your nervous system, making it easier to fall asleep. Lentils, bananas, almonds, and pumpkin seeds are all rich in magnesium.
Jasmine rice, or other high-glycemic foods.
A very small 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who ate Jasmine rice (a high-glycemic index food) fell asleep twice as fast as those who ate Mahatma rice (a low-glycemic index food) with their evening mail.
[Editor’s Note: The content provided on this site is for general informational purposes only. Any medical information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. We encourage you to consult with the appropriate health expert if you have concerns.]
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Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.