Snacking Helps You Fall Asleep Faster

Snacking Helps You Fall Asleep Faster
Munching on nuts, fruits, and other foods rich in melatonin can help you fall asleep faster at night. (Photo: Maxpixel.net)

Some people may find it easy to drift off to dreamland right away while others have trouble with it. Meditation, medication, and counting sheep (pun intended) are some of the common solutions, and doctors recommend snacking to fall asleep faster.

Getting a bite to eat before you hit the sack helps make you snooze right away. That is, as long as you are munching on the appropriate food, specifically those that pack melatonin, the chemical that makes us sleepy at night.

It is not advisable to catch up on the latest gossip or scroll through your social media feed from your mobile phone since the light suppresses melatonin. Instead of turning to electronic gadgets and over-the-counter medicine for help, W. Christopher Winter, M.D., author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broke and How to Fix It, suggests eating nuts and fruits. Walnuts are rich in melatonin and contain high levels of the amino acid tryptophan that aids in the production of melatonin. Walnuts also have fatty acids that contribute to sleep. They offer the omega-3 fatty acid ALA that is converted into DHA in the body. DHA increases the production of the sleep-enhancing brain chemical serotonin. Another fruit that contains tryptophan is banana, in addition to magnesium and potassium, which are natural muscle relaxants.

Likewise, cherries offer sleep benefits because they have been shown to help battle insomnia. This fruit produces a surge in melatonin that can help with "sleep initiation." A 2017 study revealed that those who drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice daily for two weeks improved their sleep time by 84 minutes.

Another is the fruit kiwi. A contained study showed that people who ate two kiwis an hour before bed for four weeks fell asleep faster. It decreased the amount of time it took for them to drift off to sleep by 35 percent. They fell asleep 42 percent more quickly than when they did not eat kiwi before bed. Aside from its sleep-inducing property, kiwis also reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.

Chamomile tea not only provides relief for headaches but also induces sleep. It contains the antioxidant apigenin that binds to certain brain receptors that reduce insomnia and promotes sleepiness. A study in 34 adults showed that those who drank 270mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days slept 15 minutes faster compared to those who did not.

Lastly, oats are a known source of melatonin. Eating oatmeal before bed helps make you sleep faster because of its high carbohydrate content that induces drowsiness.

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