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Foods that can improve sleep
Life is better with great sleep. You already know that. We don’t need to review all the many health implications of poor sleep because, if you’re like me, they will only haunt you when your lying awake at night, feeling frustrated that you aren’t asleep yet. Instead, let’s dwell on some helpful findings showing us how diet—including some yummy foods—can help us sleep better:
- This study found that people had worse sleep after eating foods lower in fiber and higher in sugar and saturated fat: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702189/
- This study found poor sleep was associated with overeating and eating lower quality food: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7070194/
- In this study, eating 2 kiwi fruit 1 hour before bedtime improved sleep duration, onset, and efficiency. After 4 weeks the mean sleep duration went from 6 to 7 hours! Researchers hypothesize the effect may come from kiwis’ healthy antioxidants and serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps make us feel relaxed and sleepy: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21669584/
- In this study, drinking 240ml of tart cherry juice in the morning and again 1-2 hours before bedtime improved sleep duration and efficiency in people over 50 with insomnia, possibly because of the natural melatonin in tart cherries: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5617749/
- Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain at night, and it helps promote sleep. Melatonin-rich foods may improve numerous aspects of health, including sleep, and include milk, raspberries, almonds, goji berries, cranberries, and others: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409706/
Finally, double-check that you aren’t consuming stimulants later in the day, such as caffeine or theobromine (from cocoa or chocolate). Sometimes those things can be hiding in your supplements, snacks or desserts.
I will update this list as I find more relevant research. If I’ve missed some, please send it my way (to firstname.lastname@example.org). Good luck sleeping well and sweet dreams!