4 Healthy Foods that Help You Sleep

Sleep is a vital part of one’s daily routine. It is the time when the body recharges, heals and repairs internal organs, cells, and blood vessels. Sleep deficiency can increase the risk of several diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

Going without sleep for days can increase the risk of obesity and acne. Having sufficient sleep allows the body to maintain hormonal balance, a decrease in cortisol, less stress, and improves the overall quality of life.


What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland that helps control your sleep cycle. The body has its own circadian rhythm affected primarily by melatonin. Failure of the body to produce melatonin can cause insomnia and other sleep-related problems. However, we can get melatonin from other natural and healthy food sources. These foods can be eaten during dinner or a few hours before sleeping to compensate for the lack of melatonin.


Foods that Help You Produce Melatonin Naturally

Cherries

Cherries are rich sources of anthocyanins, vitamin C, carotenoids, and fiber which help prevent several diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and stroke. The vitamin C and the nutrients found in cherries help strengthen the immune system.

Cherries also lower the levels or uric acid and contains melatonin which helps the body regenerate through sleep. Cherries have a wide range of health benefits. So when you are thinking of what sweet food to put on top of your dessert or ice cream, put more than a cherry or two. Not only will it give you that extra sweetness for dessert after dinner, it will give you all the added health benefits, and give you a good night’s sleep.

Bananas

The tropical fruit banana is a natural source of melatonin. Banana contains natural carbohydrates that produce serotonin, as well as magnesium and vitamin B6. These nutrients in banana help the body naturally produce melatonin.

Bananas also contain an amino acid called tryptophan which aids the body to produce serotonin allowing the body to relax. It is advisable to indulge in this delicious healthy fruit after dinner or approximately 2 hours before bedtime to get the maximum benefits.

You can eat it by itself, add it to a sandwich or ice cream or mix it in a fruit cocktail with other healthy foods that also promote sleep.

Oats

Oats are famous for breakfast but it is also good to eat at night since it is a natural source of melatonin. Oats are rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, complex carbohydrates, and amino acids that will help you sleep easily. Whether you are asleep or awake, having eaten oats for the day gives the much-needed relaxation your nervous system needs.

Oats are good at regulating cholesterol level for a healthy heart, thus, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. It is among one of the world’s healthiest food due to its natural fibers and nutrients. So instead of using oatmeal just as a regular morning meal, you can make it an evening meal once in a while to help you sleep well, wake up fresh and radiant in the morning.  

Oranges

Orange is a great source of vitamin C, calcium and B Vitamins. These nutrients are good for the immune system, cardiovascular and respiratory health, and possibly lower cholesterol. The nutrients that oranges contain aid the body to relax and produce melatonin.

This fruit is likely to be available in most local grocery stores wherever you are so it won’t be hard to find. It is rich in antioxidants and considered to be one of the healthiest fruits. Include it in your weekly grocery list to add that bit of vitamin C and nutrients as you sleep well at night.

It is extremely vital to get enough sleep. Sleep compensates for the energy we spend on a daily basis. We need it to regenerate and let our organs function efficiently. With the help of these healthy foods, not only do we get the right amount of daily rest our body needs, we also benefit from all the other nutrients these foods have to nourish the body.

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References:

Natural Society. (2013). 8 Foods to Naturally Increase Melatonin for Better Sleep. [online] Available at: http://naturalsociety.com/8-foods-naturally-increase-melatonin-sleep/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

Reader's Digest. (2016). 16 Foods That Help You Sleep | Reader's Digest. [online] Available at: http://www.rd.com/health/beauty/foods-that-help-you-sleep/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

Nhlbi.nih.gov. (2016). Why Is Sleep Important? - NHLBI, NIH. [online] Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

Whfoods.com. (2016). Oranges. [online] Available at: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=37 [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

One Green Planet. (2016). Foods That Help Produce Melatonin: Oats, Bananas, and More!. [online] Available at: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/foods-that-help-produce-melatonin-oats-

Eatingwell.com. (2016). Cherry Nutrition Benefits - EatingWell. [online] Available at: http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/cherry_nutrition_benefits [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

Mercola.com. (2016). What Are Cherries Good For? | Health Benefits of Cherries. [online] Available at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/02/health-benefits-cherries.aspx [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

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