DJ Blatner, registered dietitian and NOW Wellness Expert, tells TZR that cottage cheese helps promote sleep due to the amino acid L-tryptophan. “Tryptophan plays a role in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s associated with healthy sleep,” she says. “Enjoy it with some cinnamon.”
There are several types of herbal teas which can help promote sleep, Dr. Peter Polos, MD, sleep medicine specialist and expert for Sleep Number, tells TZR. These include everything from chamomile and peppermint to valerian root and catnip (yep, catnip!).
Omega-3 fatty acids — like the ones found in fish, including tuna, sardines, and wild-caught salmon — can help you sleep better. This is because the Omega-3s contain essential fats that are good for you (they can help reduce inflammation, for instance) and your sleep.
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Did you know eating pumpkin seeds can help improve insomnia and help you sleep better? This is due to their magnesium content, says Blatner. She says you can add them to your dinner — or have some almonds, cashews, or hemp seeds instead for a magnesium fix.
Popeye may have been on to something with his constant spinach consumption — aside from all its health benefits, it can also help you catch some Zzz’s. This is because of its magnesium content. So you can have a spinach salad with dinner and even add some almonds or cashews for extra magnesium.
Bananas have so many health benefits, and helping you sleep is one of them. This is because they’re not only rich in magnesium, but also provide you with fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, to name a few.
You may want to have some peanut butter on your banana, as the former can help you sleep, too. This is because the fat content can slow down the absorption of carbs, which will help you sleep, as well as help you wake up feeling well-rested.
Growing up, your parents may have had you drink warm milk to help you sleep — and it works! Blatner says research shows this is due to a certain protein in cow’s milk, and that vitamin D in milk may help you sleep soundly, too.
To sleep better, have some kiwifruit, Blatner says. “Research suggests that the antioxidants and natural serotonin in one to two kiwi before bed can improve both sleep quality and quantity,” she explains. Plus, since it’s sweet, it’ll provide you with a healthy sugar fix, too.
“Tart cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin, which regulates the body’s internal clock and sleep-wake cycle,” Blatner says. “You can create a ‘natural jello shot’ by mixing 2 tablespoons of tart cherry concentrate and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and chill in the fridge (whipped cream optional).”
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