August 22, 2013

Foods That Improve Sleep

Popcorn as sleep aid
If you have difficulty in sleeping, you may get help from certain foods and drinks to sleep better. Here are six of them:

1. Popcorn

The carbohydrates in fat-free popcorn supply tyrptophan (an amino acid) for the brain. Tyrptophan is used in the brain for the production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) which induces sleep and also elevates mood. Therefore, popcorn may help you sleep.

Attention: There are findings which indicate that popcorn cooked in microwave owen may have some negative effects on health. It is advised to be cooked on the stove, and without using much oil and salt.

2. Fish

Fish contains omega 3 to promote sleep
Fish meat may help sleep well due certain elements it contains such as tryptophan and vitamin B6. The Norwegian fish Halibut, for example, contains both and supports sleep.

A research made in Oxford University showed that sufficient and regular intake of omega 3 improves children's sleep. Furthermore, Omega 3 fatty acids increase the ability to learn, support mental functions and they are known to help prevent many health problems such as heart diseases.

Omega 3 content differs according to various kinds of fish. Some fish contain more omega 3, while others contain less. The physiology of fish, their nutrition elements and living enviroment are the factors that effect the degree of omega 3 contained in their meat. Fish living in deep and cold water contain more omega 3.

Fish living in polluted waters and some specific kinds of fish may contain mercury, which is a toxic heavy metal. Swordfish, for instance, may contain high rates of mercury, therefore pregnant women and children are advised to avoid eating swordfish.

Some other foods which contain high degrees of tryptophan are: Red meat, soy beans, milk, cheese, yoghurt, nuts and eggs.

3. Tart Cherries

Sour cherries among foods that help sleep
Sour cherries, a species whose homeland is Turkey, contains carbohydrates which increase serotonin production. Tart cherry is also one of the rare foods which contains melatonin hormone, therefore it may help sleep well and it may alleviate the negative effects of jet-lag.

Furthermore, tart cherries (especially the dried ones) include antioxidants which have anti-aging effects.

4. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are among foods that improve sleep
Chickpeas are rich in their vitamin B6 content which is necessary for the production of serotonin in the brain.

Vitamin B6 helps synthesize melatonin hormone. Chikpeas also contain calcium and magnesium minerals which are known to calm the mind and relax the body.

Chickpeas can be added to salads, soups and many meals.

5. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea induces sleep
Chamomile tea is a drink which has relaxings effects and does not contain caffeine. It is widely used as a sleeping aid.

Chamomila has also other important benefits. Researchers from Ohio State University think that a substance called apigenin, found in chamomile tea, parsley and celery, make cancer cells mortal and thus help destroy cancer cells in the body.

6. Honey

Honey helps fall asleep
Orexin is a neurotransmitter which has been discovered recently and is related to wakefulness. Human body is known to increase orexin production when sugar levels in the blood decrease. This situation increases the state of feeling awake. Lack of orexin can cause narcolepsy.

A rise in blood sugar can reduce the production of orexin in the brain and help feel more sleepy. Thus, an increase in blood sugar levels may help sleep better.

Since refined sugar aries some questions regarding health, honey can be a better choice to increase blood sugar.


"Foods That Help You Sleep", Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, Shape,

"Fish and Seafood", Healing Foods Pyramid, University of Michigan Integrative Medicine,

"Five foods a naturopath would never eat", Dr. Natasha Turner, Chatelaine,

"The Compound in the Mediterranean Diet that Makes Cancer Cells Mortal", Emily Caldwell, Research and Innovation Communications, The Ohio State University,

"Hormone Links Sleep, Hunger And Metabolism, Researchers Find", Newsroom, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center,

"Food and Sleep", National Sleep Foundation,

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