One of the worst things in life is getting in bed after a long day and not being able to go to sleep even if you feel exhausted. These foods listed below have been shown to help improve sleep and ability to fall asleep sooner.
Chamomile tea is a popular tea with many health benefits. It's known for its flavones - a class of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and often times leads to heart disease and cancer. Chamomile tea also contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to brain receptor cells that promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia. One study showed adults drinking chamomile tea fell asleep 15 minutes faster than usual with less time awake during the night.
Kiwis possess strong concentrations of folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin E. Research on kiwis and sleep is limited, but they are rich in serotonin and antioxidants that may improve sleep quality when eaten before bed.
Eating almonds regularly, has shown to decrease risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The antioxidants in these tree nuts can also reduce inflammation. Almonds are thought to help with sleep because they are a source of the hormone melatonin. They also contain 19% DV (daily value) of magnesium which is a sleep-enhancing mineral.
Cherries contain melatonin like almonds, which is known to increase ability to fall asleep and sleep quality. Tart cherry juice is the best way to absorb it before bed. Research encourages individuals to drink 8 ounces twice a day for the best sleep results.
Dairy products have been known to help with sleep, (this doesn't count ice-cream haha although we all know we'd love for ice-cream to be encouraged before bed). Milk specifically has been seen to increase sleep quality in older adults when it's paired with light exercise. For those of you in group classes don't let "light" exercise deter you, moderate to high intensity exercise is also GREAT!
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
All five of these options have been shown to improve ability to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Please remember that these are just suggestions though and don't have full scientific backing. However, studies that tested these different options did show some positive correlations so they might be worth a try!