Insomnia has become an epidemic, and statistics show that about 30 percent of all people suffer from sleep disorders. The main reasons are anxiety, stress, emotional and mental strains, working different shifts, jet lag, and others. It is not surprising that some 10 million Americans use prescription medications and sleep aids. The good news is that there are some good foods to eat for insomnia.
Best and Worst Foods to Eat for Insomnia
Here are the best foods to eat for insomnia:
- Foods rich with calcium: Jasmine rice, fish, whole grains, yogurt, tofu, almonds, sesame seeds, barley, bulgur, seeds, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds.
- Foods rich with vitamin B6: bananas, pistachios, dried herbs, sesame seeds and almonds.
- Foods that contain manganese: hazelnuts, herbs and spices, roasted soybeans, cocoa powder and oatmeal.
- Foods that contain complex or unrefined carbs: dried, frozen, or fresh cherries or cherry juice, vegetables such as asparagus, celery, and cucumber.
Foods Rich with Calcium
The best foods to eat for insomnia include Jasmine rice, fish, whole grains, and yogurt. Yogurt and other dairies are good sources of calcium. Studies have shown that calcium deficiency may lead to insomnia.
Other foods that supply calcium include tofu, almonds, sesame seeds, and herbs. Whole grain foods such as barley and bulgur are excellent sources of magnesium. A magnesium-deficient diet may make it more difficult to fall or stay asleep. Magnesium is also found in foods such as pumpkin seeds, dried herbs, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds.
Foods Rich with Vitamin B6
Bananas are good foods to eat for insomnia. Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber. Vitamin B6 stimulates the production of melatonin, which regulates the circadian rhythm.
Other foods that contain vitamin B6 include pistachios, dried herbs, and sesame seeds. Almonds are a power food that supplies manganese, magnesium, and protein.
Foods that Contain Manganese
Manganese is an important mineral that aids muscle relaxation and makes it easier to fall asleep. Proteins also play an important role in that they regulate blood sugar levels. Try to eat more foods that contain manganese, including hazelnuts, herbs and spices, roasted soybeans, and cocoa powder.
Oatmeal is an excellent food to eat for insomnia. It is nutrient-dense, inexpensive, soothing, and tasty. Oatmeal is easy to cook and supplies essential minerals such as potassium, silicon, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Foods that Contain Complex or Unrefined Carbohydrates
Instead of eating foods that are high in simple carbohydrates and sugar, you can have nuts or hard-boiled eggs. People who suffer from insomnia should also eat tart cherries because they boost the production of melatonin. You can have dried, frozen, or fresh cherries or cherry juice.
Cereal is a healthy snack and will help you snooze. In general, foods that contain complex or unrefined carbs increase the supply of tryptophan. Other foods with complex carbohydrates include vegetables such as asparagus, celery, and cucumber. Legumes are also good sources of complex carbs, and you can eat more soy beans, kidney beans, peas, and lentils. Whole grains supply unrefined carbs, are low in fat, high in fiber, and contain healthy protein. Try to include amaranth, cornmeal, and oat bran in your diet.
Worst Foods to Eat for Insomnia
Eating a small snack 3 or 4 hours before bedtime may help people who suffer from insomnia. However, there are some foods to avoid as they will make it even harder to fall asleep.
The list of foods to avoid includes celery, ice cream, candy bars, and pizza. Pizza and pasta are heavy meals because they contain cheeses and fatty meats. While toppings are nutritional, they are also greasy.
You should also avoid garlic and other foods that cause heartburn. Obviously, you shouldn’t drink coffee at night because it is packed with stimulants.
Even if you love dark chocolate, you should avoid chocolate at night because it contains the obromine and caffeine. Red meat and alcohol can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Red meat is an excellent source of tryptophan and iron, which have sleep-inducing properties, but it will keep your stomach busy the whole night.
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Written by Jennifer Tardiff, who runs and regularly contributes to an online health and food guide.