Want More Sleep? Eat These Before Bed!
Sleep is typically a luxury when you are the mom of a newborn, 6 months, 1 year, 2 year old…… Well let’s face it moms, the day you are blessed to change your title from “me” to “mom,” sleep will forever be a luxury. I remember the days of nursing in the middle of the night, multiple times, giving it all you’ve got to try and soothe a crying infant back to sleep, replacing pacifiers that somehow made it to the opposite end of the crib, escorting a toddler who figured out how to crawl out of the crib back to bed. Somehow the years flew by, and these days my sleep is stolen by the hours I lay wide awake waiting for my teens to return home safe and sound!
So all in all, sleep and motherhood do not always go hand in hand no matter how old your kids are.
As we all know, sleep encourages sleep, so sometimes even when you are fortunate to steal some quality zzz’s, you might find yourself having a hard time shutting it all down and dozing off for some quality REM’s. Typically, I am not one to encourage nightcaps and nosh, but believe it or not, there are some healthy options that encourage good sleep.
- Peanut butter – the magic protein! Peanut butter is beneficial in so many ways, but especially as a source of L-tryptophan, an amino acid that is the metabolic precursor of serotonin. Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another and has a general sedative effect. So in theory, raising the level of L-tryptophan in the brain will cause increased production of serotonin and natural sedation
- Banana – This fabulous fruit has several ways of fighting off insomnia and helping you doze off. Not only do bananas contain tryptophan, but they are all high in magnesium and potassium, which both have a way of relaxing tired muscles. Once your muscles calm down the rest of your body tends to follow. Tip: enjoy a little banana with peanut butter as your evening snack! You will be on your way to dreamyland before you know it!
- Honey – I am not one to encourage sugar at night, but a small teaspoon honey can help raise your insulin level just slightly which in turn makes it easier for tryptophan to get to your brain. So never thought I would say this, but a little sugar may contribute to better sleep!
- Fish – Fish has more benefits than you can shake a stick at, but one of my favorites is that it is packed with vitamin B6, which helps the body produce melatonin, the hormone that maintains the body’s circadian rhythm and promotes sleep. Fish with highest levels of B6 include tuna, salmon and halibut.
- Tart cherry juice – Not only is this juice magical as one of my favorite anti-inflammatories, it is another fabulous booster of melatonin!
- Whole grains – a great choice for a small evening snack as it is low sugar and a good source of complex carbs that increase tryptophan in the body.
Please just keep in mind, small portions for your healthy nightcap is key – a little goes a long way in this case and eating bigger portions at night will not support any type of weight loss or weight maintenance. Also, make sure to catch your zzz’s when you can! Quality sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle!
I’d love to hear what works for you. Leave a comment and let me know if any of these foods helped!