Feeling a little restless? With all that’s going on in the world right now, we understand. Luckily, a few simple tweaks can help you catch the rest you so desperately need. Scroll down for a few delicious sleep helpers that will guarantee sweet, deep Zzzs.
Mangoes soothe aches and pains.
If physical discomfort disrupts your sleep, adding half a mango to your bedtime snack could help you drift off 25 minutes sooner, plus sleep 45 percent more soundly. That’s the word from British scientists, who say the pigment that gives mangoes their cheery hue (betacryptoxanthin) tamps down your body’s production of pain-triggering compounds called prostaglandins.
Yogurt maximizes melatonin release.
Yogurt is packed with the amino acids your brain needs to make the calming, sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. No wonder investigators at the University of Verona in Italy say that women who enjoy one cup of sugar-free yogurt before turning in for the night fall asleep as much as 30 minutes sooner — and they’re much more likely to sleep soundly through the night. This snack is truly one of the best sleep helpers!
Raw honey prevents heartburn flares
Feel the burn when you lie down at night? Honey can help! New Zealand researchers say savoring a spoonful of raw (unpasteurized) honey at bedtime cuts heartburn risk in half, improving sleep quality by up to 62 percent.
Turns out honey’s enzymes and natural hydrogen peroxide coat and soothe the lower esophagus, shielding delicate mucous membranes from stomach acid while also healing and strengthening damaged throat tissues.
Jasmine rice releases calming brain waves.
If you have trouble unwinding, spoon up some jasmine rice! This grain’s distinctive floral aroma kick-starts the production of calming alpha brain waves, and its carbs switch on the enzymes that produce the relaxing hormone serotonin. That’s why Australian scientists say eating a 1⁄2-cup serving with dinner helps people doze off 50% faster and sleep 40 minutes longer!
Beef steadies blood sugar.
A nighttime dip in blood sugar rattles your brain’s anxiety center, doubling your risk of restless sleep and middle-of-the-night awakenings, say Yale scientists.
But eating four ounces of lean beef three times weekly heightens insulin sensitivity and blood-glucose control, cutting your risk of overnight wake-ups by 75 percent.
Dark chocolate relaxes muscles.
When you’re too restless to relax, indulging in one ounce of dark chocolate could help you unwind and fall asleep within 20 minutes, say researchers at the University of Connecticut in Bridgeport. Thanks goes to a chocolate compound (theobromine), which calms the parasympathetic nervous system, relaxing muscles, slowing heart rate and dialing down your brain’s production of energizing, sleep-disrupting beta waves.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.