10 Foods That Beat Insomnia

Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012 03:42 PM

 

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If you're one of the 32 million Americans who suffer from insomnia, take heart, and head to your kitchen for relief. Just as some foods, such as coffee, can keep you awake at night, others set the stage for a restful night's sleep due to natural sleep-inducing components. About 90 minutes before you plan to nod off, toddle into the kitchen and enjoy a snack. Choose from the following foods:
• Cherries. Tart cherries boost the amount of the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is synthesized in the pineal gland to make melatonin. — which helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle — in your system. A study at the University of Texas Health and Science Center found that cherries contain melatonin, which helps reset the body's body clock to promote more restful sleep.
• Bananas. Bananas have a lot of "a peel" when it comes to aiding sleep since they contain several helpful ingredients, including melatonin and serotonin. Bananas also contain magnesium, which is known to calm nerves and relax muscles.
• Almonds. Almonds provide a double shot of natural sleepy-time aids since they contain both tryptophan and relaxing magnesium. Dry-roasted, unsalted almonds or almond butter on whole wheat bread make healthy bedtime snacks.
• Popcorn. Carbs in popcorn guide the amino acid tryptophan to your brain where it's used to make sleep-inducing serotonin. Choose nonfat popcorn to keep it healthy and low-calorie, and add a dash of spices for flavor.
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• Tea. Chamomile tea, the king of bedtime herbal teas, relaxes nerves and has been used for centuries to promote a good night's sleep. Green tea contains theanine, which aids sleep, but be sure to choose decaffeinated.
• Honey. The natural sugar in honey reduces the production of the neurotransmitter orexin in the brain that's linked to alertness. Add a drizzle of honey to a warm cup of chamomile tea and enjoy the relaxing benefits of both.
• Dairy products. In addition to containing tryptophan, milk, yogurt, and cheese have several ingredients that will send you to dreamland including calcium, which eases nerves and reduces stress.
• Turkey. Turkey is a great source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is blamed for Thanksgiving naps. But it works even better at night on a half-empty stomach to help calm you and let you sleep.
• Peanuts. Peanuts are rich in niacin, which helps increase the amount of sleep-regulating serotonin in your system. Dry roasted, no-salt peanuts are a healthy choice.
• Grapes. Grapes are one of the few foods that contain melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle and help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. A study published in the Journal of Food and Agriculture found that wine grapes have particularly high amounts.
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© HealthDay

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