Though we all enjoy the occasional midnight snack, eating sugary and fatty foods can lead to a night of tossing and turning. However, there are various fruits and vegetables full of sleep-improving minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Munching on fruits and veggies helps sleepers curb late-night cravings without feeling guilty or worrying about sleep interruptions.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best fruits and vegetables to help you fall and stay asleep each night.
Edamame beans are a good nighttime choice for sleepers because they help regulate blood sugar. Sometimes, when your glucose levels are too low or high, it can cause sleep disruptions such as night sweats or nightmares. However, this crunchy snack is high in magnesium, a nutrient proven to improve sleep quality and duration for insomnia patients. Not to mention, edamame contains a substantial amount of protein and fiber to keep you feeling full throughout the night.
2. Dark, Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens including, arugula, spinach, chard, and kale, all contain sleep-promoting minerals like potassium. Adding extra potassium into your diet can be especially significant for fighting against muscle cramps. Your brain uses potassium to help stop and start muscle contraction, so when these levels are low, the body does not relay these messages effectively. This can cause painful spasms or cramps to interrupt a good night of rest. Not only can this be highly uncomfortable, but it can also make it harder to get back to sleep.
Carrots are packed with alpha-carotene, a nutrient proven to increase your overall sleeping duration when consumed in high quantities. Diets lacking this nutrient have been linked with sleeping disorders like insomnia. Luckily, carrots are one of the best sources of alpha-cartone and contain other nutrients for better rest, such as calcium. Consuming more calcium in your diet can help your brain produce the sleep-inducing substance melatonin.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are easily digested carbohydrates and can help prevent indigestion from interfering with your sleep. Additionally, they contain muscle-relaxing potassium to keep your body from cramping up throughout the night. Eating foods high in potassium has also been proven to increase slow-wave or deep sleep, the restorative stage of the sleep cycle. This stage is essential for re-energizing the body and improving memory. Therefore, if your diet lacks potassium, you may not spend enough time in a deep sleep each night.
Mushrooms are a savory vegetable praised for their high content of vitamin D. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to a host of sleep issues, including sleeping duration, insomnia, and overall poor sleep quality. Eating at least a ½ cup of mushrooms every day provides around ⅓ of your daily selenium intake. Selenium plays a critical role in metabolism and thyroid function and helps protect your body from damage caused by oxidative stress. A deficiency in this mineral may play a role in sleep abnormalities—specifically impacting your ability to fall asleep.
Not only are bananas a sweet fruit you can grab on the go, but they are also loaded with nutrients such as vitamin B6 and tryptophan. Vitamin B6 in bananas works to convert the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin. Your body uses serotonin as a chemical precursor to melatonin, the main hormone involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Without enough melatonin, it can be challenging to fall asleep; thus, having a banana before bed may help you drift off easily.
Cherries are another great nighttime treat as they are rich in fiber and sleep-promoting nutrients. Sweeter cherries are high in melatonin, a hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm. On the other hand, tart cherries can be better for improving sleep duration. In a recent study, participants experienced longer and more refreshing sleep after consuming tart cherry juice. Researchers believe this could be because tart cherries contain less sugar compared to their sweeter counterparts.
Avocados are an excellent source of potassium. One avocado contains three times as much potassium as one banana. This is especially good for improving sleep, as potassium intake can reduce the number of times you wake up throughout the night. Also, the high amounts of unsaturated fat in avocados increase serotonin levels, lessening feelings of anxiety and restlessness.
Pineapples contain a digestive enzyme called bromelain, which helps us break down proteins, making it easy for us to digest and absorb nutrients. Furthermore, the fiber and water content in this deliciously sweet fruit helps prevent constipation and promote regularity. So, eating a couple of pineapple slices can keep bellyaches and other digestive problems from arising at nighttime.
Mangoes are another sweet snack you munch on before bedtime. These fruits contain antimicrobial properties proven to be effective in eliminating phlegm and relieving cough. Eating a mango before sleep may remedy nighttime stuffiness and open your airways for better breathing. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory qualities in mangoes are extremely helpful in eliminating the symptoms of asthma.