cherriesWe have all heard the myths and old wives’ tales about what kind of foods will help us sleep.

Maybe our grandmother told us a glass of warm milk before bed will help us sleep.

There is also the belief that chamomile tea will help us fall asleep faster and get a better night of uninterrupted sleep.

Melatonin is a chemical that is naturally released by the brain to tell the body’s internal clock that it is time to go to sleep. There are foods out there especially high in melatonin.

These foods then would be good to avoid if you need to stay awake for an extended period of time! Magnesium and potassium are also very good natural sleep aids because they are natural muscle relaxers.

Carbohydrates trigger insulin production so any foods that are high in carbohydrates will induce sleep by speeding up the release of both tryptophan and serotonin.

  1. Cherries have a very high level of melatonin and in fact cherries are one of the only foods that naturally have a high source of melatonin. Some nutritionists recommend actually eating cherries approximately one hour before going to bed as the melatonin will be released and will help the brain and body go to sleep.
  2. Bananas are a very good source of both magnesium and potassium. Additionally bananas are a good source of the amino acid L-tryptophan. This amino acid is an excellent source of serotonin and melatonin because it gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain.
  3. Toast is a yummy bedtime snack as well as a piece of carbohydrates in a toaster! Eating a piece of toast will single-handedly trigger insulin production which will then in turn induce a night of sleep for you. Also consider having a bowl of oatmeal for the same reasons.
  4. Warm milk did make the list of good bedtime foods! Warm milk is like eating a banana because the acid L-tryptophan is in milk and turns into 5-HTP which then releases serotonin which is very relaxing. Milk is also high in calcium and calcium promotes sleep as well as the warm factor is soothing and calming.

Foods to avoid if you are seeking a good nights’ sleep are preserved and smoked meats, chocolate, caffeine and energy drinks, and anything spicy.

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