📚These Meals Will Help You Get a Good Night’s Rest

Why are you struggling to sleep through the night? Indeed, the world is facing a global pandemic, and it's reasonable that it's affecting your sleep. Yet, as hopeful signs start to emerge and everyone begins to adapt to what's now considered the new normal, why is it that you're still having trouble catching some shut-eye?

Perhaps you are more stressed than most due to your circumstances. However, other factors can make sleep more problematic. Too many of the wrong foods at inappropriate times can lead to insomnia. Fortunately, adjusting your habits — and your menu — can help you get more shuteye.

Best Practices for Meal Times Before Bed

When your stomach digests food, it revs up your metabolism temporarily — after all, your organs are hard at work. While you may not have the energy to spare for physical activity, you can still find drifting off more troublesome. Experts recommend leaving at least three hours between your last meal and bedtime to ensure adequate digestion and reduce heartburn symptoms. These can occur when you lie down when your stomach is still doing its thing.

What you eat also matters, as fatty foods take longer for your stomach to digest. Try substituting leaner versions of your favorite meats in your evening meal if you are a carnivore. For example, some brands of chicken sausage contain 60% less fat than those made from pork.

Timing your food consumption also impacts your hormones. When you eat, your body produces insulin to regulate the amount of glucose flooding your bloodstream. This process is also linked to your circadian rhythm — your internal body clock that monitors when you feel most alert.

If you wake up restless, you might think of grabbing a drink to help you relax. However, while alcohol can make you feel sleepier initially, it interferes with your circadian rhythms, making staying under more challenging. Alcohol is also a diuretic, and waking up having to pee is a sure way to end up counting sheep again.

Meals That Will Help You Get Some Shuteye

Now that you know how to time your meals to maximize sleep, can certain foods enhance your ability to enter dreamland even more? Absolutely. All foods consist of a combination of chemicals, and the right ones can induce a relaxed state that is ideal for slumber. Try the dishes below.

1. Roasted Sweet Potato

Maybe the turkey isn’t the only reason you feel drowsy after eating Thanksgiving dinner. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of B-vitamins, including vitamin B6. This nutrient influences the production of two key neurotransmitters — serotonin and melatonin, both crucial for sleep. If you had a few restless nights, one of these spuds roasted with olive oil and salt makes an excellent side dish or a full meal in itself.

2. Turkey Sausage Tacos

Select a low-fat version of sausage for this delicious dish. Plus, kids love a taco bar where they can add the toppings they adore. It’s also easy for you to prep in a snap. Seek out turkey sausage that is high in tryptophans. While this amino acid alone won’t induce sleep, combining it with carbs — like wrapping it in flour tortillas — creates the magical post-Thanksgiving food coma.

3. Baked Halibut

Nearly everyone can benefit from adding more fish to their diet for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Researchers recently discovered that low levels of DHA, a form of omega-3, causes a deficiency in melatonin. Without adequate levels of this hormone, sleep proves more problematic.

4. Quinoa and Veggie Salad

When it comes to digestion, complex carbohydrates do take a considerable time to break down in your body. Once they exit the stomach and head to the intestines, you feel drowsy as all those beneficial bacteria feast on prebiotic fiber. If you struggle to digest gluten, a wheat protein, you might tolerate this ancient grain well — now, you can reintroduce spaghetti to your diet.

5. Egg and Cheese Omelet

While you may consider this a breakfast staple, eggs can also serve to ease you back to sleep. That’s because they contain high levels of melatonin-producing omega-3’s. They are also a rich source of tryptophan — add a slice or two of whole-grain toast, and you’re looking at a recipe for dreaming.

6. Lavender Chamomile Herbal Tea

If you can’t reach for the vodka when sleep proves troublesome, what can you sip to help you get some rest? Why not try a cup of gently calming lavender and chamomile tea with some warm almond milk? You can substitute hemp milk if you prefer — many varieties come fortified with both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

7. Skullcap and Valerian Tea

The combination of skullcap and valerian provides a powerful soporific punch. Valerian does take time to build up in your body, so you can add a scoop of this dried herb to other teas or even coffees you drink throughout the day. A decaffeinated cuppa with the addition of skullcap before bed should ease you into dreamland naturally.

Sleep Better at Night With The Right Foods

Adjusting what and when you eat can significantly impact your sleep habits. If insomnia plagues you, try these meals and herbs to find relief.

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