This article has been researched and written by Arelang Naturals® in-house writers.
Aren't we all jealous of people who hit the bed and doze off almost immediately? While we spend hours scrolling through reels on Instagram or laughing about tweets Kanye West made, someone somewhere is already snoring. Annoying right? We often wonder what it is that they are doing differently. Are they superhuman? Are they lucky? Did they have a special wish that got granted? But really, the difference is in what they eat.
Before we answer what and which foods are for good sleep, let's dwell on why what you eat affects how you sleep.
Balance in nutrients: Eating a balanced diet is crucial to maintain healthy sleep patterns and circadian rhythm. A variety of nutrients, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats help support optimal brain function, and melatonin production and regulates sleep-wake cycles.
Sleep-Inducing Foods: Certain foods contain sleep-friendly compounds that promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, is found in melatonin foods like cherries, tomatoes, oats, and walnuts can aid in falling asleep faster.
Stimulants and Sleep Disruptors: A fact you must know is that what you consume during the day can affect your sleep at night. Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks, are well-known stimulants that can interfere with sleep if consumed too close to bedtime. Alcohol might make you feel drowsy initially but could lead to fragmented and less restorative sleep. Another underrated stimulant is blue light. Blue light emitted from screens, especially after a binge-watch at night or even mindless social media scrolling, fools the brain into thinking it's daytime and stimulates the brain into being more alert. When that happens, the body stops releasing a sleep hormone called melatonin and further delays the time you take to fall asleep.
Time to digest: Remember when your mom said dinner time is 7:30 PM? That was with good reason. Eating heavy or spicy meals close to bedtime can cause discomfort and indigestion, making it harder to fall asleep. Lighter meals in the evening and allowing a couple of hours for digestion before hitting the hay are ideal. Say goodbye to late-night food and snacking on sugary or processed foods because these spike blood sugar levels, leading to energy crashes and disrupted sleep.
Water, water everywhere: Even mild dehydration, like having one glass less can disrupt sleep quality and leave you groggy the morning after. Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day and reducing water intake before bedtime is ideal.
Now that we have the why let us dive deeper into the food you need for better sleep.
Slumber number 1 - Bananas: The humble yellow fruit is great for breakfast, but is also great for a good night’s sleep. They are packed with essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium, and they also contain tryptophan—a natural sleep-inducing amino acid. Toss one into your evening snack, or indulge in a slightly-healthier banana-split sundae. Never a bad idea, right?
The Nutty Superfoods - Walnuts: While you binge-watch your favorite show (Ted Lasso has to be it ;)), you almost always want to eat something crunchy and munchy. With popcorn being so passe, try these mighty nuts as the foods that make you sleep fast because they are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and natural melatonin. They help boost natural melatonin production in the body so you can be well on your way to counting sheep even before that episode ends on a cliffhanger. Eat them in our sleep-inducing chocolates like Restore Your Sleep or in your favorite sugar-free cookies for some midnight indulgence.
Feel-good elixirs like Herbal Teas: A brewing kettle of herbal teas and green teas are oh-so-satisfying. Chamomile, lavender, and valerian root teas have long been known for their calming properties, making them the perfect pre-bedtime brews. Sip on a steaming mug while hanging with the family, Just ensure you skip the caffeine-laden teas, as they'll keep you more wired and tired!
Sultry Cherry: Move over, Prince Charming! We have uncovered the secret to better sleep. These red fruits aren't just tasty and snack worthy but are also great sources of natural melatonin. A black forest with ample cherries or a cherry lollipop is a great way to end the night.
These are just a few sleep-inducing foods, but there are ample more 'night foods' that help aid melatonin and serotonin production in the body which is crucial for a healthy sleep-wake cycle. While synthetic melatonin pills, strips, and even gummies, seem super convenient, they do not allow the body’s natural melatonin function to perform the way it should. Besides, when you continue taking this synthetic hormone for a long period, the pineal gland which makes melatonin in your body starts to downgrade to the point where you need more and more of the external synthetic melatonin to create the same effect.
Natural sources like the food enlisted above or natural plant-based candyceutical supplements like Restore Your Sleep made using walnut extract and isolates are great additions to your bedtime routine. They not only knock you out faster but relax your mind before slumber hits, and when you are asleep, it keeps you longer in your deep sleep phase, giving your body enough time to repair and heal itself.
Remember that every person has a different body constitution and getting the hang of what foods induce sleep for you and give you that 8-hour slumber is extremely important. The best is to listen to your body and give it what it needs.