For a restful night’s sleep, let’s set some ground rules. Avoid caffeine after around 2pm, or at least seven hours before bedtime.

Don’t drink more than one or two alcoholic beverages in the evening, and have most of your evenings booze-free — save your big nights out for once a month or, ideally, every two or three months.

Avoid heavy, heart-burn inducing meals in the hours before bed, and stop eating two hours before you intend to go to sleep.

To sum it all up, avoid the following:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Foods high in fat
  • Foods high in protein
  • Heavy meals (in general)

Still not sleeping well? Here are some foods that might help you nod off.

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#1. Chamomile Tea

A personal favorite, chamomile tea has a calming, relaxing effect that help many people wind down before bed.

Not only that, but chamomile tea is also full of antioxidants shown to reduce inflammation and stave off chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

#2. Fatty Fish

Not only are fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna nutritional powerhouses, but they’re also great for sleep. In a randomized control group study of 95 men, it was found that those who were fed salmon three times weekly for six months fell asleep around ten minutes faster than those who were fed chicken, fish, or pork.

Fatty fish are an excellent source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have properties that can improve sleep quality. Just make sure you chow down earlier in the evening, leaving you time to properly digest.

Other sources of Vitamin D include:

  • Sunlight (the gold standard)
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolk

#3. Cottage Cheese

Rich in the amino acid tryptophan, cottage cheese is a winner when it comes to natural sleep aids. Tryptophan may increase your body’s production of serotonin, low levels of which have been linked to insomnia. In other words, good serotonin levels = good sleep.

Other sources of tryptophan:

  • Poultry (turkey or chicken)
  • Seafood (shrimp, cod, or salmon)
  • Legumes (beans)

#4. Bananas

Bananas are a great source of magnesium. This mineral plays a crucial role in quality sleep. It’s a natural relaxant that deactivates the body’s fight-or-flight hormone, adrenaline.

Other sources of magnesium:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Avocados

#5. Tart Cherries

Certain fruits contain the hormone melatonin, which our bodies produce naturally in line with our circadian rhythms. As the sun goes down, our bodies begin to produce melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy and keeps us asleep once we doze off.

Tart cherries and tart cherry juice contain vast amounts of melatonin. Two studies on adults with insomnia showed that the consumption of eight ounces of tart cherry juice, twice a day for two weeks, resulted in longer and higher-quality sleep.

Other sources of melatonin:

  • Olives
  • Asparagus
  • Walnuts

Ready for Some Shut-Eye?

Remember, consuming too many calories before bedtime will negatively affect your sleep. So, enjoy these foods as a part of your final meal, at least two hours before you intend to sleep. Or, enjoy just a small serving as a snack if you can’t but help to eat closer to bedtime.

Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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