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Food to Help You Sleep

Alarm Clock
Alarm Clock

In today’s high stress, always on the go culture, it’s inevitable. Everyone experiences it: a night of tossing and turning, of watching the numbers on your alarm clock get closer and closer to your wake-up call, and of reaching that terrible point of no return where you begin to mentally calculate just how much sleep you can still get and if it’s even worth it. It’s modern day torture and utterly frustrating.

Difficulty sleeping happens to everyone but you don’t have to take it lying down! Your sleepless night could be prevented through what you’re eating, especially in those hours right before you crawl into bed. In your childhood, you may have brushed off your mother’s advice of drinking a warm glass of milk but good, old mom may have been on to something.

To ensure a good night’s sleep, you should focus on getting in a meal or small snack comprised of carbohydrates paired with an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan aids in the production of nacin and serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to promoting healthy sleep and a steady mood. The tryptophan helps you fall asleep and the carbohydrates help you to stay asleep by causing the serotonin to be released gradually over the course of the night.

Carbohydrates are not terribly hard to fit into your diet. Try bread, cereals, and fruit, especially bananas. Additionally, trytophan is a relatively prolific amino acid, found in dairy (cheese and milk), nuts, nut butters, seeds, fish, and turkey, which may explain why people like to nap after Thanksgiving dinner!

So, the next time you’re hoping for a good night’s sleep, eat a slice of toast covered with peanut butter and a mashed banana or drink of glass of warm milk while snacking on some dry cereal. You’ll go to bed feeling satisfied and will be drifting away to dream land in no time!


  • Elizabeth Kelly: Knoxville Healthy Food Examiner 5 years ago

    Great article! Healthy eating encompasses so many different things.

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