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Home Learn Best 5 Foods to Help Improve Sleep Naturally


Home Learn Best 5 Foods to Help Improve Sleep Naturally

Best 5 Foods to Help Improve Sleep Naturally

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Your body needs to be in a state of relaxation to fall asleep. Certain botanical compounds help to control parts of the sleep cycle which means that they may help a person to both fall and stay asleep. This guide is here to introduce you to the 5 best foods you can easily pick up in your local supermarket and improve your sleep for good.

Which foods are best for sleep?

1. Almonds

Almonds contain high doses melatonin, a hormone, that helps to regulate the sleeping and waking cycle. A daily serving of almonds will also contain magnesium and calcium enough to promote muscle relaxation and sleep.

  • Calories per 100g: 550
  • Grams of fibre: 12
  • Grams of protein: 20
  • Grams of fats: 58
  • Grams of carbs: 8

2. Kiwis

Kiwis contain naturally-occurring serotonin, which boost sleep, and they’re also potent sources of antioxidants.

  • Calories per 100g: 60
  • Grams of fibre: 5
  • Grams of protein: 3
  • Grams of fats: 5
  • Grams of carbs: 15

3. White rice

Eating foods with a high glycemic index might improve sleep quality, and white rice also contains essential nutrients while keeping dietary fibre low.

  • Calories per 100g: 160
  • Grams of fibre: 1
  • Grams of protein: 5
  • Grams of fats: 0
  • Grams of carbs: 35

4. Tart cherries

As one of the only fruit sources of melatonin, tart cherries are delicious sleep aids which you can snack or enjoy them as juice before bed.

  • Calories per 100g: 50
  • Grams of fibre: 5
  • Grams of protein: 0
  • Grams of fats: 5
  • Grams of carbs: 12

5. Walnuts

Many clinical studies have showed that fatty acids in walnuts improve sleep quality due to their synthesis into serotonin in the brain. Walnuts also contain essential nutrients that might improve sleep.

  • Calories per 100g: 700
  • Grams of fibre: 7
  • Grams of protein: 15
  • Grams of fats: 70
  • Grams of carbs: 154

Benefits of almonds for sleep

Why are almonds good for sleep?

Almonds naturally contain melatonin, a neurotransmitter-like compound that your brain uses to induce the feeling of drowsiness. These tree nuts are also great sources of essential minerals, and they contain healthy fats and fatty acids that help your body operate effectively. For instance, a serving of almonds contains around 20% of your daily value for magnesium, which makes these tasty nuts a great snack to keep on your nightstand.

When and how to eat almonds

You can snack on almonds with other nuts or on their own. With a rich texture and a smooth teardrop shape, almonds blend well with every type of trail mix.

How are almonds under-appreciated?

Going off the nutritional benefits these nuts offer, it’s almost as if almonds were specifically designed to aid with sleep. Whether you suffer from insomnia or simply want to sleep better at night, snacking on these healthy tree nuts with an almost ideal fat ratio is a great way to maximise your sleep health.

Dish ideas

Almond butter provides the same benefits as actual almonds. It spreads well on toast, and it has more nutritional benefits than peanut butter.

Benefits of kiwis for sleep

Why are kiwis good for sleep?

Kiwis contain serotonin, the body’s most ubiquitous neurotransmitter. Your nervous system needs serotonin for hundreds of different processes, and this substance provides you with the rush of relaxation and contentment that facilitates the beginning of the sleep cycle. Kiwis are also great sources of essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and rest well.

When and how to eat kiwis

Contrary to popular opinion, kiwi skin is edible, and some people find it delicious. If eating a kiwi like an apple is a bit much for you, consider cutting it into quarters and scooping the fruit out with a spoon instead.

How are kiwis under-appreciated?

While kiwis are renowned for their deliciousness and unique texture, hardly anyone knows that these exotic fruits contain bioavailable serotonin. If you’ve ever felt a rush of happiness after eating a kiwi – you now know why.

Dish ideas

Vegan kiwi sorbet is easy to make, and tart cherry juice could be the perfect taste-booster. Add shaved almonds on top to craft the perfect frosty nightcap.

Benefits of white rice for sleep

Why is white rice good for sleep?

Complex carbs provide you with a feeling of satiation that helps you rest more fully. Rice has a high glycemic index, which provides a rush of energy with an ensuing crash that helps you get to sleep. Plus, the feeling of satiation provided by white rice makes you sleep deeply. One study showed that people who ate white rice slept better than people who ate other types of carbs.

When and how to eat white rice

You can cook white rice in many different ways, and once cooked, it stays edible for 2-3 days if refrigerated. Sticky rice, in particular, is very portable in the form of balls or Japanese onigiri.

How is white rice under-appreciated?

White rice is a carb, and it has a high glycemic index which means that in many cases they will be excluded from the traditional list of “healthy foods”. Best consumed in moderation, white rice will be beneficial to eat before bed and improve your sleep.

Dish ideas

Make your own onigiri rice balls at home. Here’s a recipe to get you started.

Benefits of tart cherries for sleep

Why are tart cherries good for sleep?

Tart cherries are a great source of botanical melatonin, which helps your body fall asleep and governs the timing of the overall sleep cycle. These berries also contain lots of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, and various other essential nutrients.

When and how to eat tart cherries

You can enjoy tart cherries fresh, but they are more commonly found dried or juiced. When you buy these berries juiced, make sure it’s 100%-pure tart cherry juice that’s not from concentrate.

How are tart cherries under-appreciated?

While sweet cherries are also nutritious and packed with antioxidants, tart cherries win in terms of melatonin content. Not only they have a positive impact on your sleep quality they also promote a healthy digestive system, heart health and protects immune system.

Dish ideas

Tart cherry juice can be a little bit overwhelming on its own. Added to a fruit smoothie, however, this thick, tangy juice is the perfect flavour-enhancer.

Benefits of walnuts for sleep

Why are walnuts good for sleep?

Walnuts contain a fatty acid called ALA, which concerts to DHA in the body. DHA, in turn, facilitates the production of serotonin, which your body uses to get to sleep. Walnuts are also great sources of magnesium and other essential minerals.

When and how to eat walnuts

Pack a bag of walnuts with you on the go, or roast them at home as the perfect complement to that bar of 100%-cacao chocolate you’ve been keeping in the cupboard.

How are walnuts under-appreciated?

It’s true that walnuts contain a lot of fat. Most of these fats, however, are healthy, and walnuts also contain a lot of essential minerals your body needs to regenerate and rest.

Dish ideas

With just a few ingredients make candied walnuts! These crunchy nuts are a great party snack that will only take you 5 minutes to prepare. Here’s how.

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About the author
Katie Hipwell - Katie is an AfN Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) with a specialism in food and is Head of Nutrition at Feel. Katie has worked in the food supplement industry for 10 years. She has completed a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and an undergraduate degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition.
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