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25th February, 20204 min read

8 natural remedies for a good night's sleep

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There are many things you can do to sleep better at night. You can avoid caffeine, turn off electronic devices an hour before bed or meditate.

But if you’ve tried these actions and you’re still struggling to get the kind of sleep that leaves you feeling rested in the morning, it could be worth turning to your kitchen and natural sleep remedies for help.

Did you know that certain foods and drinks contain natural minerals and hormones that can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer?

Here are 8 foods that may help you sleep better.

Almonds

Almonds are thought to be good for sleep because they are a source of the sleep-promoting mineral magnesium and a hormone (melatonin) that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle.

Research on the true impact of almonds on sleep is lacking, but it could be worth eating a handful of almonds before bed to see if they help you sleep more soundly.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant (apigenin) that can bind to receptors in your brain. These receptors may help you feel sleepy and reduce insomnia.

Several studies suggest that drinking chamomile tea may help you fall asleep more quickly, wake up less frequently during the night and enjoy better quality sleep.

Turkey

Turkey can help you get a good night’s sleep because it contains an amino acid (tryptophan) that increases the production of melatonin. Turkey may help you to feel tired because it’s a great source of protein, which is known to improve sleep quality if eaten before bed.

Kiwis

Kiwis may help you sleep better because they contain the sleep-regulating brain chemical serotonin. Their high antioxidant levels may encourage good sleep because antioxidants like vitamin C reduce inflammation.

Robust scientific studies are needed to show exactly how kiwis can affect sleep. However, preliminary studies suggest that eating 2 kiwis before bed may make you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for longer.

Warm milk

Remember how a bottle of warm milk helped you to sleep as a child? It’s thought that a glass of warm milk at bedtime can have the same effect on adults.

That’s because milk contains melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan, which can both promote good sleep. The temperature of warm milk can also help to relax the body and help you fall asleep.

White rice and oatmeal

Both white rice and oatmeal are high in carbohydrates, which are thought to cause drowsiness and improve sleep if eaten an hour before bedtime. Oatmeal also contains melatonin, which can further help with sleep.

Avoid opting for refined sources of oats and rice, such as sugary baked goods, as these can reduce serotonin levels and ruin your sleep. Instead, stick to eating a small serving of pure rice and oats before bed.

Tart cherries

Tart cherry juice or whole tart cherries are good sources of melatonin. They may help you to fall asleep faster and wake up less often during the night.

In fact, studies suggest that drinking 237ml of tart cherry juice twice a day for 2 weeks may lead to longer sleep and better sleep quality in people with insomnia.

Oily fish

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout and other oily fish may improve sleep quality because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Both substances have been shown to increase the production of sleep-promoting serotonin.

A study found that eating salmon 3 times a week for 6 months brought about faster sleep than eating chicken, beef or pork.

As this list suggests, adding melatonin- and serotonin-rich foods to your diet may help you sleep better. However, more research into the impact of these foods on sleep is needed - and everyone responds differently to these foods.

Eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and lead to a sleepless night. It’s best to eat or drink these potentially sleep-enhancing foods 2 to 3 hours before bed.

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