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Foods to Help You Sleep

by Healthy Mens Info Staff

In order to stay healthy, you need to sleep well at night because sleep is allows your brain and metabolism to work properly. Therefore, you need about seven hours of sleep every night, but many men suffer from some form of insomnia. Certain medications and relaxation techniques can help you manage insomnia, but dieting choices can actually make a big difference to your sleep habits. Here are some healthy food choices that can actually help you sleep better at night.

Snack on Foods with Melatonin

Melatonin is the hormone in your body that is responsible for causing you to feel tired at night. Many people have reduced melatonin levels as a result of living in bright cities. You can also have reduced melatonin levels if you watch television or look at your cell phone before going to bed. Without melatonin, you will not sleep properly. Additionally, studies show that melatonin can help prevent cancer by activating genes that help to prevent mutated cells from replicating. In order to get more melatonin in your body, most people end up taking melatonin supplements, which definitely. However, you may also want to consider eating certain foods. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, cherries, and bananas all contain some melatonin. By choosing these snacks some time before bed, you will feel more tired at night and you will start to sleep better.

Make Sure You Get Your Omega 3s

Foods to Help You SleepOmega 3 fatty acids are a popular type of antioxidant. Antioxidants are important for preventing the cell damage that can cause inflammation and illnesses like arthritis, dementia, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, eating antioxidants are obviously extremely important, especially if you often put your body in a lot of stress. However, omega 3s are a type of antioxidant that has specifically been associated with helping you sleep more deeply.

Omega 3s seem to make the effects of melatonin more pronounced, so they will not work to help you sleep if you do not have enough melatonin in your body. However, as long as your melatonin levels are sufficiently high, omega 3s can provide you with a more restful sleep. Oily seafood including salmon, herring, tuna, sardines, mackerel, oysters, sea bass, shrimp, and lobsters all contain omega 3 fatty acids. You can also get omega 3s from chicken breast, chia seeds, flax seeds, eggs, and kidney beans.

Eat Foods That Make You More Relaxed

Emotional stress is a big part of insomnia, so you need to find ways of relaxing in order to fall asleep. It is not surprise, therefore, that eating foods that increase the serotonin or magnesium levels in your body can help you sleep better. Rice, for example, has been shown to make you fall asleep faster probably because it is full of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are what your brain uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for making you feel calm and happy. Serotonin can also be turned into melatonin to help you sleep. Of course, any carbohydrates can have this effect, but you definitely want to stick to carbohydrates that are healthier for you including whole grains.

Interestingly, white rice seems to work better than brown rice, so you can consider switching to white rice if you are having trouble sleeping, even though white rice is slightly less healthy than brown rice. In order to get magnesium, you should eat foods like cashews, chocolate, almonds, spinach, or sesame seeds. The magnesium or potassium in these foods can prevent mental health disorders and can also work as a muscle relaxant. As result, you feel more easily sedated and fall asleep much faster. Sweet potatoes may not have so much magnesium, but they have potassium, which has a similar effect. They also have carbohydrates that can be turned into serotonin.

Make Sure That You Are Not Vitamin D Deficient

The easiest place to get vitamin D is sunlight because the sun causes the cells on your skin to produce vitamin D. People who are vitamin D deficient can also talk to their healthcare provider about vitamin D supplements. However, if you are worried about your body’s vitamin D levels, then you can definitely get enough vitamin D from the foods you eat. Studies show that, without vitamin D, men tend to wake up more often in the middle of the night because vitamin D is good for the neurons in your brain that helps you sleep. To get enough vitamin D from the food that you eat, you need to choose foods including eggs, fish, shiitake mushrooms, yogurt, and some other dairy products.

Dairy Products Are Your Friend

Foods to Help You SleepThere is a reason that warm milk is associated with sleepiness. Any hot beverage can lead to fatigue because changing body temperatures associated with warm foods can induce sleep. However, warm dairy products are especially helpful because they usually have vitamin D in it, which definitely helps you sleep. Additionally, milk contains calcium and tryptophan. Both of these chemicals are used by your brain in order to synthesize melatonin.

Calcium ions are important for many processes that occur in your brain and nervous system, so it is no surprise that it helps with the process of releasing neurotransmitters like melatonin. Tryptophan is specifically helpful for melatonin production because it is an amino acid that is synthesized into serotonin, which is then synthesized into melatonin. It is the same chemical in turkey that is partially responsible for making you drowsy after Thanksgiving meals. Tryptophan can also be found in egg whites and pumpkin seeds.

If you are having trouble sleeping, then you should definitely talk to your healthcare provider to figure out how to address the problem. You might have to take medications and you might learn certain relaxation techniques and habits. However, the foods you eat can also have an effect on how well you sleep. While caffeine and simple sugars will probably keep you up at night, foods that help you relax and produce sleep inducing chemicals will likely cause you to fall into a restful sleep more easily.

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