I may come across as a massive hypocrite when I am writing about this topic of “foods to eat for better sleep”! I personally have never had a sleepless night. I sleep tight as soon as I hit the bed. Change of place, stress, anxiety, loud noises, lack of darkness…nothing, NOTHING has ever affected my slumber ever, but…
Day in and day out I see patients who come to me in hopes of losing weight or losing tummy fat and when I assess their lifestyle, almost 80% of them are sleep deprived. And almost all of them, I kid you not, are eating fewer calories than their Basal Metabolic Rate! (BMR is the minimum number of calories we need for our body and all it’s systems to function properly!).
They are not eating that much, then how are they putting the weight on?
Lack of sleep is amongst the things that can cause hormonal imbalance, slow down a person’s metabolism and increase the risk of obesity and other metabolic diseases.[1, 2, 3] Of course, trouble falling asleep can be a symptom of something else so it is always advisable to consult your primary caregiver physician if your sleep troubles just won’t go away. But if you are otherwise perfectly healthy and need a little help falling asleep, here are some foods that can help you-
Cow’s milk is a rich source of melatonin (4.03–39.43 pg/mL). Melatonin is a hormone produced by our pineal gland. It helps regulate sleep. More amount of melatonin is secreted after sunset which tells our body that its time to shut eyes and its secretion drops as the sun rises.
As cow’s milk is a rich source of melatonin, having a warm cup of milk (preferably without sugar) is known to help relax and fall asleep. During the days when I was interning at an old age home, we used to give our residents milk before going to bed which used to work like a charm in treating insomnia!
Apart from being vibrant and delicious, pistachios also are rich in melatonin (233,000 ng/g). Now compare that with some other nuts (walnuts- 1.02 ± 0.06 ng/g, Almonds- 39 ng/g) and you will see why a few cashew slivers in your glass of milk before bed can work like a wonder.
Some love them and others can’t put up with their taste and texture. But I tell you what, a bowl of warm mushroom soup at dinner might just help you unwind and go to bed early. Mushroom too is a very rich source of melatonin (4300–6400 ng/g )
Kidney Beans & Lentils
Our beloved rajma beans are a powerhouse source of melatonin (529.1 ng/g) and lentils or as we call it, masoor ki daal provides twice as much melatonin (1089.8 ng/g). Now, do you know why you get so drowsy after eating rajma chawal :P?
Withania Somnifera, in Latin it means “sleep-inducing”. Ashwagandha is an excellent adaptogenic herb and a great overall health tonic. But it is notably good at helping you relax and fall asleep. .
Know more about Ashwagandha, Read-
Quick tips to help you sleep longer and better-
- Avoid drinking Tea/Coffee or any caffeinated beverages (we’re looking at you colas!) at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid surfing on your phone or laptop when in the bed. The blue light these devices emit interfere with your sleep cycle. Taking a book to the bed with you is a far better and rewarding option 🙂
So these were my top 5 all-natural sleep aid foods. Try this delicious recipe before hitting the bed and you never know you might just fall asleep fast, you know like who 😉 😉
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 tsp Pistachios (slices/slivers or chopped)
1/4th tsp Cardamom powder
1/4th tsp organic turmeric
Add all the dry ingredients into the milk and bring it to a boil on medium heat. Your masala milk is ready. Drink it warm and Sleep tight 🙂
ps: don’t forget to brush your teeth before sleeping!!
She is a Registered Dietitian who does not believe in dieting; She has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition but she is not your “I know it all Nutrition Guru!”; She loves food but loves talking about food even more. Her articles are a direct reflection of her personal quest where nutrition science meets real life! Oh, and she is owned by a 3 m.o. naughty kitten 🙂