Nothing is worse than spending the night tossing and turning — sometimes it feels like the more tired you are, the less you can sleep. For those who have trouble falling or staying asleep, adding a few things to your diet may combat the seemingly never-ending cycle. These tasty treats or not only delicious, they will soothe and relax so you can snooze soundly.
Citrus prevents early wake-ups.
If you tend to wake up early — and then can’t get back to sleep — enjoying a daily serving of citrus (such as an orange, two clementines, or half a grapefruit) could add 60 minutes of uninterrupted slumber. Credit citrus’ rich stores of vitamin C, which calm overactive adrenal glands, tamping down their early release of brain-stimulating stress hormones.
Tart cherries tame pain.
Sipping 8 oz. of tart cherry juice an hour before bed could help you fall asleep 25 minutes sooner, plus sleep 45 percent more soundly all night long, German researchers report. Thanks go to this fruit’s unique blend of anthocyanins and plant acids, which block pain-triggering enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) to tamp down sleep-sabotaging soreness as effectively as NSAIDs.
Raw honey blocks nightly heartburn flare-ups.
If you’re prone to bouts of heartburn after dinner, savoring a spoonful of raw (unpasteurized) honey at bedtime could improve your sleep quality by as much as 62 percent, studies suggest. Turns out, raw honey’s enzymes and natural hydrogen peroxide coat and soothe the lower esophagus — shielding delicate mucous membranes from stomach acid — plus encourage the healing of damaged throat tissues.
Jasmine rice eases anxiety.
You’ll drift off 50 percent faster if you eat a 1/2-cup serving of jasmine rice with your dinner. That’s the word from researchers at Australia’s University of Sydney, who found that the rice’s sweet popcorn-like aroma (plus its modest dose of high-glycemic carbs) calm the anxiety center of the brain to lull you to sleep.
Oats calm an overactive brain.
Feel like you toss and turn all night because your brain is busy planning tomorrow’s tasks? Eating 1 cup of oatmeal daily can help, cutting your risk of an overactive brain — and restless sleep — by 50 percent in one week, Canadian researchers say. Oatmeal brims with nutrients (beta-glucans and saponins) that kick-start the production of GABA — a calming neurotransmitter that soothes a hyper brain and helps you stay in your deepest, most restorative sleep.
Almonds nix bedtime bathroom trips.
Nearly 50 percent of us make multiple treks to the bathroom overnight. To cut your wake-ups in half and boost sleep quality by 55 percent, nibble on 1/3 cup of almonds daily. UCLA scientists credit these gems’ magnesium — a mineral that relaxes bladder and urethra muscles so they’re less likely to spasm and wake you as your bladder fills.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.