8 Foods to Help You Get to Sleep Naturally

Having trouble getting your ZZZ’s? You are not alone. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 30 percent of adults have symptoms of insomnia and 10 percent have it so bad that it causes daytime consequences.

Even if you’ve tried drinking cups of chamomile tea or shutting off the lights at a reasonable time, Mr. Sandman can often remain elusive. But instead of reaching for the bottle of sleeping pills, try changing your diet.

“The foods you eat have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep,” says Jason Wrobel, host of his own TV show on The Cooking Channel who has a roster of celebrity clients such as Woody Harrelson and Robin Wright. He tells Newsmax Health that he’s devoted a whole chapter to recipes that promote better sleep in his latest cookbook, “Eaternity.”

“People are generally over stimulated in today’s society,” he says. “Caffeine and artificial sweeteners are two of the main culprits. Refilling your coffee cup over and over again affects the adrenal and nervous systems causing feels of stress and anxiety.”

Dr. Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D, author of “The Natural Medicine Chest,” tells Newsmax Health that artificial sweeteners interfere with sleep because they contain excitotoxins that can over stimulate the nervous system.

“Stop drinking coffee and switch to an herbal tea after 3 p.m.,” she says.

All this over stimulation doesn’t come without a cost, adds Wrobel.

“Working late and getting up early for a 5 a.m. spin class may work for a while but in the long run you’re going to compromise your energy, memory, well-being and longevity,” he says.

Wrobel says certain sleep enhancing foods that contain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins and tryptophan help you get the shut-eye you need for optimum health and performance.

Almonds. These sweet nuts are high in potassium and B vitamins which help our nervous systems to relax. Spread some almond butter on whole grain toast or on a banana and there will be no need to count sheep when your head hits the pillow.

Bananas. They are also packed with B complex vitamins and potassium. The high sugar content in bananas also increases sleepiness, notes Kamhi.

Cherries. These luscious fruits help the body release melatonin which promotes the natural sleep cycle of falling asleep and waking up naturally. Kamhi notes that research points to tart cherries as the most effective sleep inducers.

Chickpeas. Munch on these tasty snacks during the day to boost your intake of B6 which in turn helps produce melatonin so that you can sleep soundly at bedtime.

Kale. This super green is packed with magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is a major cause of insomnia, says Wrobel. Throw the dark leafy veggie into your smoothie or enjoy a kale salad for dinner.

Oatmeal. Kamhi says that the combo of oatmeal and bananas is a much better bedtime snack than a breakfast food. Oats encourage the body to release sleep hormones, somewhat like a natural Ambien, notes Wrobel.

Walnuts. Pop a few walnuts after dinner to increase the amount of tryptophan, a natural sleep enhancing amino acid. In the brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which induces sleep. Kamhi adds that turkey is also very high in tryptophan which is why folks become sleep after Thanksgiving dinner. “Having turkey for dinner can help with a good night’s sleep,” she says.

Brown Rice.
Wrobel says that brown rice contains GABA aka gamma-amino-butyric-acid, a natural calming agent that soothes the nervous system like a mellow, all natural tranquilizer.