As much as we would like to stay up all night without a care in the world, most of us have responsibilities we need to get up for in the morning. And in even if you enjoy nothing more than crawling into bed early, sometimes it’s not that easy to drift off into slumberland. According to Recovery Village, 30 percent of adults experience insomnia from time to time, making it the most common sleep disorder. But something as simple as eating a piece of fruit before bed may help you get a full night’s rest. Read on to see what should pick up from the produce aisle if you have trouble falling asleep.
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What you decide to eat, no matter the time of day, will affect your health and wellbeing. But when we are getting ready for bed, it’s especially important to avoid anything that is high in sugar or fat, which requires a lot of work for your body to process and may leave you tossing and turning all night.
“Studies show that eating high fiber foods predict more time spent in the stage of deep, slow-wave sleep, while saturated fat and sugar may be associated with lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep,” says Nichole Dandrea-Russert, a nutritionist and author of the blog Purely Planted.
Whole plant foods also may help you sleep more soundly and keep you from you waking up in the middle of the night time and time again.
“Whole plant-based foods that are rich in carbohydrate, including fiber, may stimulate the release of serotonin, helping you doze off and sleep well throughout the night,” says Dandrea-Russert. “Fruit, in general, is a good source of fiber, especially apples, pears, and berries,”
Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that we need for our hearts to function properly. Luckily for us, bananas are chockfull of it.
Bananas are also rich in other minerals and vitamins that will help you sleep more soundly throughout the night.
“Bananas contain nutrients like potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, and vitamins to promote sleep,” says Catherine Gervacio, a registered dietician and nutrition writer for Living Fit. “Tryptophan is a crucial amino acid to produce serotonin, a hormone to induce sleep. Serotonin works with melatonin, another hormone that keeps your sleep-wake cycle regulated so you’ll feel sleepy at regular times, and wake up at a steady time.”
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If you stop by the health aisle at any super market, you’re bound to see the popular sleep aid melatonin. But you don’t always need to take it in supplement from to reap the benefits.
“Melatonin is your hormone that promotes a good night’s sleep,” says Dandrea-Russert. “There are several fruits that are a good source of melatonin including cherries, pomegranates, tomatoes (technically a fruit), and strawberries, and have been shown to support healthy sleep.”
Tart cherries specifically contain high amounts of melatonin, and can be eaten or enjoyed in a smoothie before bed.
“Tart cherries contain melatonin, a key hormone for regulating sleep. Eating fresh or dried tart cherries or drinking a small glass of cherry juice increases melatonin levels in the body, which helps you get to sleep a little easier,” says Lauri Leadley, founder and clinical sleep educator at Valley Sleep Center.
Kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C and are known to promote heart health, boost your immune system, as well as improving your digestive health. This cute fruit also has had great results in studies looking into sleep improvement.
“Research shows that kiwi fruit can support falling asleep quickly and sleeping soundly,” says Dandrea-Russert. “While kiwi isn’t a direct source of melatonin, it is a source of serotonin, which is a precursor to melatonin.”
In a study done by the National Library of Medicine (NIH), participants ate two kiwis one hour before bedtime for a month. The results from this study showed an increased amount of sleep time, as well as less sleep disturbances. According to the study, “the total sleep time and sleep efficiency were significantly increased (13.4 percent and 5.41 percent, respectively). Kiwi fruit consumption may improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with self-reported sleep disturbances.”