Sleep, despite what many think, is a very important aspect of health. Apart from being an reliever of fatigue, it also helps to prevent cancer, reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases developing and helps in weight loss. There are foods that you can eat to help improve sleep, especially if you suffer from certain sleep disorders. The following are six of these foods.
Walnuts contain the protein amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to 5-HTP in the brain, and later to serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a relaxing effect, while melatonin is the hormone responsible for sleep. Walnuts relax you and can help in inducing sleep. Walnuts also contain their own melatonin that can cause you to get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Bananas also contain tryptophan amino acid, which as we have already seen, produces melatonin. They also contain potassium, a known relaxing agent.
3. Dark chocolate
A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh, school of Biological Sciences, under the auspices of Dr Gerben Van Ooijen, discovered that those who ate dark chocolate were able to sleep better at night as compared to those who did not. This is because dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps cells in the body to cope with the circadian rhythm, also called the internal body clock.
This circadian rhythm is responsible for your sleep cycles and the time you sleep. Magnesium is also contained in dark chocolates that helps the body get used to a regular sleep schedule, and hence puts the body to sleep easier and quicker when the time comes.
4. Green vegetables
Green vegetables like lettuce, contain a compound called lactucarium that is just as powerful as opium in its relaxing effects. This relaxation makes it easier for you to fall sleep.
Pretzels and other foods high in sugar content can help in sleeping by giving you a sudden crash following a ‘high’, which makes it easy for you to fall asleep. Be careful with these sugary foods though, as they can cause mood swings and lead to diabetes. But if you just want to sleep, these are the perfect foods for you.
Tuna and many other fish like salmon and halibut, contain vitamin B6, which is an essential ingredient that the body needs to produce melatonin and serotonin.
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