Sleep is vital for our overall wellbeing, contributing to important functions like muscle growth, immune function, and memory. Sleep deprivation negatively affects appetite-regulating hormones. A lack of sleep leads to an increase in levels of ghrelin and a decrease in levels of leptin, affecting our hunger and appetite. Staying up late at night can lead to irregular eating behaviors and food choices. A late sleeping schedule also leads to binge eating which can further confuse the body clock and affect metabolism.
A wrong choice of bedtime food can affect our sleep schedule. These include consumption of spicy foods, sugary drinks, caffeine, or indulging in junk foods right before sleep.
To help you get a better night’s sleep, let’s look at the top 5 foods for a better sleep to consume at least one hour before bedtime:
Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are one of the best foods for better sleep. Not only do they contain healthy fats, but they are also high in tryptophan, which helps to induce sleep. Tryptophan is also an ingredient in many medicines for anxiety and depression, making nuts an excellent addition to the bedtime diet. Nuts are also great for weight control, reducing anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Prepare a roasted, unsalted mix of nuts such as almonds, flax seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pistachios and store in a glass container. Consume a handful of these nuts an hour before bedtime.
Bananas are rich in potassium, a key mineral required by the body. It is an effective diuretic that helps reduce insomnia and relieve depression. Also, it is a natural hormone suppressor which helps to prevent any unnecessary stress (leading to sleeplessness).
Bananas are a natural mood enhancer and a powerful inhibitor of neuropeptide Y, which helps in initiating sleep.
Prepare a banana smoothie or slice a banana and consume with a handful of roasted nuts. The tryptophan and magnesium present in bananas act as a natural sedative.
A warm cup of milk with cardamom and a dash of turmeric is a great drink for better sleep. It contains tryptophan which helps to boost serotonin (associated with relaxation). Serotonin, in turn, aids in the production of melatonin, which regulates the sleep and wake cycle. It is also a great source of protein which helps to improve the quality of sleep.
Want to switch to dairy-free options? Choose almond or peanut milk for a good night’s sleep.
Prepare a banana milkshake or consume a cup of warm milk with roasted almonds and saffron. Milk can be consumed an hour before bedtime.
For someone with sleep apnea, adding cherries to the bedtime regimen is extremely beneficial. They are also extremely effective in naturally clearing the airway. Studies suggest that cherries help to increase sleep time and efficiency and also improves insomnia.
Sweet cherries are rich in melatonin which helps to facilitate a peaceful and good quality sleep. This fruit is also rich in antioxidants, helps to reduce stress, improves blood circulation, and also improves memory and concentration.
Consume a cup of cherry smoothie or juice or a bowl of raw cherries daily before bedtime to improve the sleep-wake cycle.
Chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal teas because of its calming and tension-relieving properties. Consumption of this tea before bedtime has a positive effect on the reduction of sleep disorders and insomnia. It also helps to improve the quality and duration of sleep. Added benefits of this tea are maintaining heart health, lower blood sugar levels, treating allergies, and providing relief from menopausal symptoms.
Drink a cup of warm chamomile tea an hour before bedtime for relaxation and achieving sleep quickly. Consuming this tea helps to increase glycine levels, which acts as a mild sedative.
Check this perfect bedtime recipe for a good night’s sleep!