4 foods to help you sleep

Eat to beat insomnia and finally get a good night’s sleep

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sleep woman sleeping


Oatmeal is a natural source of melatonin, a naturally occurring compound, which causes drowsiness.

Pair oats with a vitamin D-rich drink, such as fortified soy beverage or 1% milk, to increase the probability of a restful sleep.

“Vitamin D can increase serotonin in your brain, which helps you sleep,” says Lois Ferguson, registered dietitian, and author of Eating for Energy and Ecstasy.

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cherries cherry juice

Cherry juice

A 2011 study found that cherries may be a natural sleep aid because of their melatonin levels.

The research, which was published in the European Journal of Nutrition, shows that when adults had two glasses of tart cherry juice a day, they slept 39 minutes longer, on average.

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toast jam

Whole grains

Ferguson recommends eating a whole-grain carbohydrate-rich snack 30 minutes to an hour before you go to bed. The carbs increase serotonin in your brain, which will help you fall asleep faster.

Her recommendations? Two cups of air-popped popcorn or a piece of whole-grain toast with a bit of jam on it.

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Herbal tea with honey

Herbal tea is calming on its own, but when paired with honey, it could help your sleep. A study from Penn State University found that honey was an effective option for relieving both nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children.

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woman waking up from sleep

What to avoid

“Minimize your caffeine intake,” says Ferguson. “Instead, get your energy by choosing the rights foods. Too much caffeine (more than one cup a day) will affect how you feel at night when you want to fall asleep.”

Another important thing to note? “Don’t have a heavy dinner – it can give you heartburn and indigestion,” says Ferguson. “Having a smaller dinner can help you sleep better.”

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