It has long been known that eating certain foods before bedtime can help with insomnia and promote better sleep with fewer interruptions. Experts suggest eating a light snack that combines complex carbohydrates, some calcium and protein can help improve how the body absorbs tryptophan and produces melatonin production, which are catalysts for sleep.
Examples of these foods include milk and cereal, hot oatmeal, banana and almonds, apple and cheese, turkey and others. Yet, according to the journal, Advances in Nutrition, a recent review of research on foods that help with insomnia reveals there are other foods that may be even more effective in helping people who experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
Two of these foods fall into the fruit category - specifically kiwi fruit and tart cherry juice. The other noted is malted milk, which is a mixture of malted barley, wheat flower and evaporated whole milk. Malted mix typically comes already mixed in powder form.
The lead author of the article in Advances in Nutrition is Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University. While findings reveal indicators of sleep benefits, St-Onge notes that the studies are small and more research is needed for definitive conclusions. Yet, the foods found to be helpful in the studies may be worth trying for individuals who experience issues with insomnia.
St-Onge's findings reveal that eating two kiwis an hour before going to sleep helped adults with self-reported insomnia improve their sleep. In two other studies, older adults who drank one to one-and-a-half cups of warm malted milk a half hour before bedtime had fewer issues with sleep. Two studies demonstrated that drinking one cup of tart cherry juice twice a day - in the morning and at night - helped adult insomnia sufferers, as well as healthy adults, achieve better, more consistent sleep.
Cherries have melatonin and kiwis have serotonin that can help counter the effects of insomnia. St-Onge notes that both fruits contain important antioxidants properties. Antioxidants counter free radicals in the body by inhibiting potential cell damage and inflammation that may be associated with sleep disorders.
The folate found in cherries and kiwis help with cell production and the processing of dopamine and seratonin in the brain that are important to sleep. She points out that the lack of folate in the body has been linked to insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
Malted milk's vitamin B and D are known to promote healthy sleep. The absence of these critical vitamins in the body have been associated with sleep disturbances in individuals.
For more information on foods to eat that promote sleep, click here: Sleep Inducing Foods.
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