North Americans have largely inherited a negative attitude about what it means to sleep, and more specifically, what it means to get a healthy dose of sleep. In fact, many of us assume that those who value their sleep are either lazy or lack a strong work ethic. But this is simply not true.
Studies show that getting a sufficient amount of sleep—which is anywhere from 7 to 9 hours a night—is essential to staying in good health. Indeed, sleeplessness has been linked to a variety of health issues including depression, heart disease and even obesity. If you wish to make both good health and good sleep a priority, but are having difficulty doing so, we have compiled several foods that can help you do just that.
Breads Rich in Whole Grains
From infancy, we have been told about the benefits of eating whole grain bread. The nutritional makeup of whole grain bread is, in fact, undeniable. And, whole grain bread is a fantastic way of getting your daily fiber. Fiber, in turn, is what allows us to feel satiated and full while giving us bountiful energy with which to get through the day. In this vein, one common reason for disturbed sleep patterns is pangs of hunger. If you often wake up because of hunger pangs, try eating a slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter (or another healthy condiment) right before sleep. Doing so will keep you feeling full, and sleeping well.
Cherry juice has been recently identified as a fantastic natural antidote for sleeplessness. In fact, cherry juice is rich in the hormone melatonin: which serves an indispensable role in regulating our sleep patterns and cycles. With an appropriate level of melatonin in our system, our ability to sleep both comfortable and regularly is greatly increased. Consuming a glass of this tart yet sweet beverage on a daily basis will work wonders for your sleep schedule.
Who would have thought that a fruit so enjoyable to eat would also have huge health benefits? Bananas are an ideal food to consume if and when you have difficulty sleeping. Firstly, these yellow fruits are high in potassium and magnesium alike. Both potassium and magnesium encourage your muscles to relax and your body to mellow out before bed. In fact, if you ever experience muscle cramps your physician may very well encourage you to begin eating bananas with some regularity.
Like bananas, seeds are an excellent and enjoyable way of getting your daily intake of magnesium. This nutrient is essential for getting to sleep in a timely fashion, and for sleeping soundly. On this note, there are many seed varieties that are rich in magnesium including: pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds. Consider buying your favorite seeds in bulk and preparing your own trail mix at home. When it is time to hit the sack at the end of the day, your body will be relaxed and ready to go.
Leafy Greens have a host of healthy benefits. They are a fantastic source of fiber, and are rich in many of the vitamins we require in order to maintain a well-balanced diet. But many leafy leaf greens—including arugula, kale and collards—are also rich in folate. Folate has been correlated with regular and healthy sleep patterns. Indulging in leafy greens will promote a better night’s sleep, and a healthier overall lifestyle.
If you struggle to fall asleep at the end of each day, don’t despair. There are a number of natural mediums for promoting improved sleep patterns, one of which being the aforementioned foods. With a bit of forethought and planning, your body will thank you for incorporating these delicious foods into your diet.