We live in a non-stop society. In our rush, we too often put sleep on the back burner.
From Yahoo Health: Sleep has a huge effect on how you feel throughout the day, and nutrition plays a role in how well you sleep.
Food relates directly to serotonin, a key hormone that helps promote healthy sleep.
Try to consume foods that calm the body, increase serotonin levels and get you ready for restful sleep.
Here are a some foods to get you started on the path to better sleep.
1. Complex carbohydrates
Embrace whole-grains such as brown rice.
Eat whole-grain breads
And whole grain pastas
Whole grain cereals are recommended, as well.
Avoid simple carbohydrates.
Avoid breads that are not whole grain.
Avoid sweets such as cookies, cakes, pastries and other sugary foods.
These tend to reduce serotonin levels and do not promote sleep.
#2 Lean proteins
Lean proteins include low-fat cheese.
Chicken and turkey
Lean proteins include fish.
These foods are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which tends to increase serotonin levels.
On the flip side, avoid high-fat cheeses.
Avoid chicken wings and fried fish.
These take longer to digest and can keep you awake.
#3 Heart Healthy Fats
Unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels
Examples include peanut butter (read the label to make sure peanuts are the only ingredient)
and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios.
Avoid foods with saturated and trans fats.
Such as french fries, potato chips or other high-fat snack foods.
These bring your serotonin levels down.
Certain drinks can promote or prevent sleep.
A good, soothing beverage to drink before bedtime would be warm milk.
Or herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint.
As for caffeinated drinks, Dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic recommends that those who are having difficulty sleeping consume that last cup by 2 p.m.
Caffeine can affect people differently.
Even the smallest amount of stimulant can keep you awake.
5. Fresh herbs
Fresh herbs can have a calming effect on the body.
For example, sage and basil contain chemicals that reduce tension and promote sleep.
Try making your own homemade pasta sauce with sage and basil.
It’s easy to do, and homemade sauces tend to be lower in sugar than store-bought versions.
However, avoid herbs such as red pepper or black pepper at night.
Red pepper or black pepper have a stimulatory effect.
Enjoy an apple with mozzarella string cheese.
Smear peanut butter on 100-percent whole grain crackers
Try a banana with low-fat yogurt
Eat low-fat cottage cheese with a few 100-percent whole grain pita chips
Try all these foods to reduce your tossing and turning when you hit the pillow.
iStock / tzooka
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