How To Sleep Better: 5 Foods To Help You Sleep (+ A Recipe!)

What To Eat For Better Sleep

By Margaux J. Rathbun

Are you a night-owl? Do you spend hours tossing and turning at night? Statistics show more than 50% of Americans regularly experience symptoms of insomnia – and if your life is anything like most of ours, it’s no surprise. Between work time, family life and a mind racing with to-do lists, it’s a miracle we even have time for the 4-5 hours of rest most of us are getting. Yet the fact remains that the majority of adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Your busy schedule though, doesn’t destine you to a life of sleep deprivation. Rather, believe it or not, nutrition plays a large role in how well we sleep.

5 sleep-promoting foods to help you catch some (much-needed) ZZZs…

Cherries – These tasty berries contain a concentrated source of melatonin, a key ingredient that helps promote sleep. Plus, they’re also full of important nutrients, vitamin C and potassium. Try eating a handful of organic cherries 20 minutes before hitting the sack – it’s not only a deliciously healthy dessert, but also will help you fall asleep fast.

Walnuts – Just like cherries, walnuts are a good source of sleep-promoting melatonin and other nutrients that have been known to help prevent heart disease, cancers, arthritis and skin conditions. To help promote relaxation before bedtime, eat a small serving of raw walnuts. You can also find natural sleep-aid supplements that contain walnuts.

Basil – Love pesto? Can’t get enough basil? This fragrant, bright green plant has sedative properties, which makes it a great food for helping us to sleep. It’s also been used to help stomachaches, indigestion and nausea. So, the next time you feel the urge to nourish your green-thumb, plant some basil!

Chicory – While slightly bitter, this veggie is actually known to be a mild sedative (as well as full of nutrients that help with gut health, blood sugar and cholesterol). To help you fall asleep, try adding some chicory to a small salad. You could even add some sleep-promoting walnuts on top!

Scallops – Are you a sea-food lover? Try scallops for dinner as they are full of sleep-promoting tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the production of serotonin in our brains. Still need more convincing? They’re also full of vitamin B3 and magnesium to help protect your bones and arteries.

Sleepy-Time Chicory Walnut Salad

1/2 Ib organic chicory, cut into medium-sized pieces and washed thoroughly
3/4 C organic, raw walnuts, shelled
3 Tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Wash and dry the chicory leaves. Whisk the apple cider vinegar, honey and 2 Tbsp of the olive oil together for the dressing and sprinkle in sea salt to taste. Mix the walnuts with the remaining olive oil and a pinch of sea salt before  lightly toasting them under the grill or in the oven (until fragrant). Toss the chicory leaves in the dressing, season and arrange in a bowl. Scatter the walnuts on top. Serve and enjoy!

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