Can Superfoods Help You Sleep?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 adults don't sleep enough. This happens despite the constant reminders from medical experts that at least 7 hours of sleep is needed by the body to fully recover. Sleeping less than 7 hours a day is associated with the increased risks of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity.
“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D. and director for CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need,” he added.
Apart from the aforementioned tips from Dr. Giles, experts recommend eating superfoods. This is especially important for people who struggle to sleep. If you have insomnia or are simply finding it hard to sleep at night, here are some superfoods that you may want to keep in your kitchen.
In a study presented by the Pennsylvania University, it was mentioned that consuming alpha-carotene, which are nutrients found in carrots, leads to better sleep. Diets that do not contain this type of nutrient were linked to poor sleeping habits. It’s also worth noting that carrots contain the most potent sources of alpha carotene compared to other vegetables.
There are plenty of ways that you can enjoy carrots. Drinking carrot juice a few hours before sleeping can aid in helping you sleep better. In addition, you can also slice raw carrots and add them to your salad. If you need salad recipes, you can read Green Apple's ‘3 Healthy Summertime Salads’ post. Sprinkle slices of carrots on any of the three salads, and you will have a quick and healthy meal that will also help you sleep.
Apart from alpha carotene that aids sleep, carrots also provide other sleeping nutrients such as vitamins A and B6.
Bananas include a number of healthy chemical elements including potassium and magnesium that are natural muscle relaxants. When the muscles are relaxed the body finds it easier to fall asleep.
Leesa revealed a number of healthy midnight snacks including one that uses bananas as one of its main ingredients. They call the recipe a "Poor Man's Crepe," which is a take on the classic European crepe. With one of the core ingredients being a banana it means you are also consuming plenty of amino acids that the body will convert to serotonin, which is a relaxing neurotransmitter.
Apart from being a superfood that can help people sleep, bananas also have many other benefits. Food Matters published an article entitled ‘25 Powerful Reasons to Eat Bananas’ and you can check it out if you want to see how bananas can have a big impact on your health and overall wellbeing.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is a mineral important for sleep. Lycopene is also an antioxidant, which is great for bone health and avoiding heart diseases. A glass of tomato juice during the day is a good way to ensure you get all the benefits.
If you don't like tomato juice, you can always have some tomato-based pasta for lunch to help you sleep later at night. Or if you like them raw you can eat them as part of a salad. Apart from lycopene, tomatoes are also great sources of potassium, vitamins C and K, and manganese.
Remember, healthy sleeping patterns also depend on the food you eat. If you are struggling to sleep you may want to consider eating the aforementioned superfoods every day to improve the chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Author: Niamh Warren