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3 Foods That Will Help You Sleep

These foods have been proven to help give you a great night’s sleep.
Photo: Shutterstock

The sleep experts at Best Mattress Brand analyzed multiple medically reviewed scientific studies and found three fruits that aren’t just good for improving your health but also improving your quality of sleep.  

With 35 percent of Americans suffering from symptoms of insomnia, there are growing nationwide health concerns. This is due to the range of mental and physical issues that can arise from a lack of sleep.  

Diet and sleep are both complex, and every individual responds differently to foods and other remedies that are supposedly good for sleep. However, these foods have been proven to help people sleep.  

Tart Cherries 

Tart cherries (Montmorency cherries) or tart cherry juice have been found in studies to have great sleep benefits. In one study, it was discovered that consuming two one-cup portions of tart cherry juice daily resulted in the ability to fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake less often. Thus, the outcome is overall increased sleep efficiency. The same effects have been reported in other tests, as well. 

The benefits mentioned in these studies may come from the fact that tart cherries have higher concentrations of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates circadian rhythm (the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) and promotes healthy sleep. Tart cherry juice also increases the bioavailability of tryptophan, which has been found to decrease the time taken to fall asleep. The enzymes within the cherries keep the tryptophan in the body longer so not only do you fall asleep quicker but you also stay asleep longer. 

It’s important to note that tart cherry juice can contain added sugar, so it’s recommended to choose no added sugar options if available. However, the pure fruit is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, which can offer many other health benefits, including reducing muscle soreness and inflammation, improving brain function, and strengthening the immune system. When adding the fruit or the juice into your bedtime routine, it’s advised to consume it daily in the morning and one to two hours before bedtime for optimal effect.  

Kiwi 

Kiwifruit is well known for its significant number of nutrients and antioxidants as well as high levels of fiber, folate, and potassium. Kiwi is also known to have sleep-inducing qualities, allowing those who eat it before bed to fall asleep faster and for longer. It’s been hypothesized that the high antioxidant capacity, serotonin, and folate content of kiwifruit may contribute to the observed sleep benefits of kiwifruit consumption.  

Serotonin is one of the key chemicals that is found in high doses in kiwis. It is an end-product of L-tryptophan metabolism, which is related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and low levels may cause insomnia. Folate deficiencies can also lead to symptoms of insomnia and fatigue, thus the levels of folate in kiwis could improve sleep quality for those who suffer with sleep conditions. It’s also been suggested that the anti-inflammatory antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects as well. 

This study shows that when kiwi was consumed over a period of four weeks, it was found to improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency. Although it’s been noted more research is necessary, current studies suggest that eating one or two kiwis an hour before bed may help people to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.  

Bananas  

Along with being a good source of magnesium, vitamin B6, and protein, bananas are widely known for having a lot of potassium. The hormones serotonin and melatonin that are produced because of these nutrients are key to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.  

Tryptophan, an important amino acid found in bananas, has been shown to enhance the quality of sleep. Because tryptophan cannot be produced by the body, eating a banana helps to increase levels of the amino acid. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation by slowing down signals to nerve cells, and tryptophan aids in the production of serotonin. Melatonin is also regulated by serotonin.  

Bananas are also a good source of magnesium, which supports a healthy circadian cycle, the body’s internal clock. Magnesium also impacts the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that regulates the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands enhance the stress hormones when magnesium levels are low. A banana can be the ideal food to help you relax before bed because stress and worry are frequently linked to sleep issues. 

Given that bananas are among the top sources of potassium, it is important to note the health advantages of potassium. Low potassium levels make your muscles rigid, which leads to cramps and spasms, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. A banana’s additional potassium aids in successfully stopping and starting muscle contractions, reducing the likelihood that cramps and spasms may keep you awake. The combined nutrients and chemicals, and impacts these have on the body, make bananas a great bedtime snack to help those who struggle to sleep.  

These foods are not only delicious but can also be incorporated easily into any diet for kids and adults, with studies and research proving that it’s not just quality of sleep that is enhanced but overall health as well. Diet can be an excellent tool in managing mental and physical health issues, and it has been extensively documented by researchers and medical professionals, although it’s worth consulting your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.

  

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.