Sometimes we don’t really need to look far for a natural sleep aid. Most times we should at least get our diet right before we try sleeping medications or herbal sleep aids. Do you have all the top 4 food sources in your diet as your natural sleep aid?
1. Tryptophan rich foods
Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body converts to melatonin and serotonin- both of which are thought to induce sleep. Hence, tryptophan is popularly regarded as a very strong natural sleep aid. Since it’s not available in supplements, doctors usually advice you to get it from food.
“Famous” tryptophan foods are:
1. Milk and cheese (dairy foods). Your mother was right after all to give you a cup of warm milk before sending you off to bed. Cheese like Cheddar, Gruyere and Swiss are especially rich in tryptophan
3. Turkey- didn’t they say that eating turkey makes you sleepy? However, you need to take it on an empty stomach or with carbohydrate rich foods to get enough tryptophan. This is because protein rich foods have other amino acids that compete with tryptophan.
2. Carbohydrate rich foods
Carbohydrate consumption, acting via insulin secretion and the “plasma tryptophan ratio”, increases serotonin release.
“Famous” and common carbohydrate foods are:
1.Bread and pasta
2.Cereal and rice
We said before that you must eat turkey combined with carbohydrate rich foods. This is because carbohydrates act as natural sleep aids by stimulating the pancreas to secrete insulin. When this occurs, some amino acids that compete with tryptophan leave the bloodstream and enter muscle cells. This causes an increase in the relative concentration of tryptophan in the bloodstream. Serotonin is produced and you feel that familiar sleepy feeling.
3. Chlorophyll-rich foods
Vegetables rich in chlorophyll, the green pigment of plants, is said to contain an opium-related substance, a natural sleep aid, along with traces of the anti-cramping agent hyoscyarnin.
Lettuce is a chlorophyll-rich food that has a long-standing reputation for promoting healthy sleep. Mixed with a little lemon juice for flavor, lettuce juice is an effective sleep-inducing drink highly preferable to the synthetic chemical agents in sleeping pills.
4. Vitamin and Mineral rich foods
Magnesium is important for muscle relaxation. It becomes a natural sleep aid by topping up low levels to fight the muscle cramps and involuntary twitches that may be keeping you awake.
Magnesium rich foods – sesame and sunflower seeds, wheat bran, almonds, cashews
Specific vitamins are regarded as natural sleep aids because they are involved in the production of serotonin in our body.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine):
Vitamin B6 can help prevent sleeplessness. Your body needs adequate B6 in order to produce serotonin. An excellent source of vitamin B6 is a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast which can be stirred into a glass of fruit juice.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 is involved in serotonin synthesis
Vitamin B3 Foods – fish, legumes, poultry, or peanuts