8 Foods for a Better Night’s Sleep

Having trouble falling—or staying—asleep at night? Try adding these foods to your diet for sounder slumber

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Fish

Most fish—especially salmon, tuna, and halibut—are rich in vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin and serotonin. Other foods high in B6 include raw garlic and pistachio nuts.

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Walnuts

Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps create melatonin in serotonin in the brain. Researchers at the University of Texas found that walnuts contain melatonin themselves, and when eaten, boost blood melatonin levels, helping you fall asleep quicker. 

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Rice

Rice has a high glycemic index, meaning it naturally spikes your blood sugar and insulin levels, shortening the time it takes to fall asleep by releasing tryptophan into your brain. Try eating jasmine rice for an even quicker bedtime. 

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Almonds

Almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep. A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are depleted, it makes it harder to stay asleep. 

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Cherry Juice

According to University of Pennsylvania and Rochester researchers, cherries naturally boost levels of melatonin. In their studies, subjects who drank cherry juice experienced some improvement in their insomnia symptoms compared to those who drank a placebo drink.

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Chamomile Tea

Perhaps the most well-known before-bed drink, chamomile is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that relaxes muscles and nerves and acts like a mild sedative. 

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Green, Leafy Vegetables

Veggies like kale, lettuce and spinach are packed with calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan to produce melatonin. Lettuce also contains lactucarium, which boasts its own sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium.

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Honey

The natural sugar found in honey slightly heightens insulin levels and allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily. Treat yourself to a spoonful before bed or mix it into chamomile tea to give you a more restful sleep.

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