11 Foods that Help You Sleep all Night Long

What we eat influences how we sleep.

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There is nothing better than getting a good night's rest and waking up refreshed and raring to go. We all know that sleep is an important way to recharge our batteries but what you may not know is that how well we sleep plays an important role in our overall health.

When we get enough sleep – seven to nine hours –  for adults our bodies can protect our physical health, mental health and our quality of life according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The reverse is also true.

Many of us do not get enough sleep. We go to bed too late or sleep is elusive, and we toss and turn all night. The food choices we make influence how we sleep, good or bad.

Many cultures have historically promoted different types of food to help you sleep without ever fully understanding why they work. Today we understand the role of melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain that controls our sleep patterns. The biggest influences of melatonin levels are the different types of essential amino acids like tryptophan that are in the food we eat.

Here's a list of foods that can help you get a full night's sleep, just like your Grandmother said they would.

1. Dairy Foods

A glass of warm milk really will help you sleep but so will yogurt or cottage cheese. Dairy Foods are an excellent source of tryptophan and they contain magnesium and B vitamins that support melatonin production. Let's drink a glass of milk to that.

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2. Almonds and Other Tree Nuts

Almonds have many health benefits including reducing inflammation and the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Tree nuts, like dairy are a source of all the nutrients that support the production of melatonin and brain power. Skip the chips and pass the mixed nuts.

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3. Bananas

These magnesium and potassium packed fruits are natural muscle relaxers and nerves and the vitamin B6 found in bananas converts tryptophan into serotonin, a brain chemical that makes you feel better and sleep better too. So, grab a banana before bed and get a relaxing night of sleep.

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4. Chamomile Tea

This popular herbal tea made from the flowers of the Asteraceae plant is packed with a lot of health benefits. Chamomile contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to receptors in your brain to promote sleep. Any herbal tea is a better choice than drinking caffeinated tea but make mine Chamomile please.

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5. Turkey

There's a reason that we feel sleepy after a thanksgiving feast and it is not just do to over-eating. Turkey contains tryptophan which increases melatonin and there is evidence that eating moderate amounts of protein before going to bed can improve the quality of your sleep.

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6. Cherry Juice

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but tart cherry juice can keep insomnia away according to recent studies as a way to prevent insomnia.  Cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin and tryptophan but what makes tart cherry juice so amazingly effective is the Proanthocyanidins, the ruby red pigments, that contains an enzyme that reduces inflammation and decreases the breakdown of tryptophan, so it stays in your body longer. The darker and tarter the cherry juice, the better. Cheers!

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7. White Jasmine Rice

White rice has a high glycemic index so eating it will make you fall asleep much faster. One type of rice, Jasmine Rice makes people fall asleep the fastest according to a University of Sydney study. This is a positive reason why eating Chinese food can and does make you sleepy.

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8. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. This combo increases the production of serotonin and helps you sleep better. Your body cannot produce Omega-3 fatty acids, you must get them for food. Bon Appetit!

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9. Passionfruit Tea

Passionflower tea is another herbal tea that has been used traditionally to treat a variety of health ailments including anxiety and insomnia. Passionfruit has a high content of magnesium and other minerals that are directly related to how well and long you sleep. Holistic medicine works – try a cup tonight.

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10. Honey

Sweeten your herbal tea with honey and reap even more health benefits. The natural sugar in honey raises insulin and allows tryptophan to enter your brain better. That helps induce sleep a spoonful a day.

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11. Kiwi

This low-calorie and super nutritious fruit may be one of the best foods to eat before bed time. That's because kiwis are full of serotonin,and if you feel better, you will sleep better too. Give it a try tonight!

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