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Many of you already know what NOT to do in order to get better sleep. Avoid alcohol, sugar and have a caffeine curfew, between others. If you missed my article on ways to improve your sleep click here.

But what are the things we can add instead of subtract when it comes to improving our sleep? 

Check out the list below. 

Eat this to sleep better tonight 

Selenium

Selenium is critical for good sleep, immune system and thyroid function. Best sources are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, oysters, chicken and cremini mushrooms. 

Vitamin C

People with low vitamin C levels tend to have more sleep issues. Excellent sources are everyday foods like bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, berries, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, papaya. 

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production. Serotonin can affect anything from mood, social behavior, memory, sleep, sexual desire, appetite and digestion. Tryptophan is found in turkey, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt and leafy greens. 

Potassium

Bananas are a good sources of potassium but there are far better choices such as leafy greens, potatoes, broccoli, cremini mushrooms, avocados, squashes, sweet potatoes, beans, salmon, watermelon. 

Calcium

Studies show that disturbances in REM sleep were linked to a calcium deficiency. Great sauces of bioavailable calcium are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, sardines, sea veggies and sesame seeds. 

Vitamin D

According to clinical journals, there is a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and daytime sleepiness. Best way to get your D up is through sun exposure (15-20 minutes a day) but salmon, swordfish, mackerel, shiitake mushrooms and oysters are good sources as well. If you have been diagnosed with a deficiency and need to use a supplement, here's the one I use. 

Omega-3s

Studies show that omega-3s help you get deeper, more restful sleep. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish (salmon, sardines, halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. If you are currently taking liquid or pill form fish oil, please note that they are very heat sensitive so keep them refrigerated as soon as you open them. 

Melatonin

Everybody knows how crucial hormone melatonin is for sleep. Some foods have small amounts of melatonin in them, while others have been food to help raise your body's production of melatonin. Tart cherries are far and away the food source with the highest amount of melatonin, but tiny amounts can also be found in walnuts, ginger root and asparagus. Foods that have been found to naturally boost your body's melatonin levels are pineapples, tomatoes, bananas and oranges. 

Vitamin B6

This vitamin helps your body modulate stress response and relax your nervous system. Best sources are bananas, yogurt (sugar free and organic), cashews, peanut butter, almonds, avocados, fish, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, sea veggies and eggs. 


Probiotics and probiotics 

Fermented foods have been known for centuries and lately all the research is pointing to the connection between gut health and disease development so it's safe to say that we could all benefit from adding more probiotic rich foods to our diet. Buy or try to make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, miso or yogurt/kefir. One thing to remember with pickled vegetables though is they have to be raw & unpasteurized for you to get the benefits of them so look for that on the label. 

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