Sleep is critical to health for a number of reasons. It gives a lot of the body’s hardest working organs (heart, lungs, kidneys etc.) a much-needed rest, and more effectively allows for the repair of damaged tissue. While you won’t find much argument against the necessity of sleep, that fact still doesn’t ensure that most people are getting the sleep that they need. Commitments such as work, workouts, children, and other factors can really make it difficult to find time for rest, or to get a good night’s sleep at the end of the day. Fortunately, food can help.
By now, you certainly know that some foods are bad for your sleep. High sugar foods can keep you up all night. The same is true for caffeinated beverages. Really heavy or spicy meals can sit in your stomach and leave you feeling bloated, nauseous, or lead to heartburn. As such, it is better to avoid these foods near bedtime if you’re interested in getting some shut-eye. However, there are other foods that can actually contribute to a good night’s rest. Consider eating some of these foods at bedtime instead, and see how well you sleep as a result:
All in all, nuts are a pretty great food option. When it comes to bedtime efficacy, walnuts can help you get to sleep easier due to their melatonin content. Melatonin is an important hormone that is produced in the body, critically linked to the sleep-wake cycle, which in turn is associated with darkness and light. You can make walnuts part of your winding down routine as a cue to let your body know that it is time for bed. Additionally, walnuts offer good levels of protein, as well as healthy fats, which will help you feel sated and sleepy.
Salmon is another food that contains significant levels of healthy fats. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids are critical for brain health and development. However, studies have also linked omega-3 to a higher quality of sleep. This seems to be because of an interaction between the omega-3 and melatonin, which causes the former to make the latter more effective . When you factor in the protein content, as well as other vitamins and minerals in the salmon, you’ve got yourself one overall healthy food. Ultimately, you’ll want at least three ounces of salmon three times weekly, but there’s room for more.