In the News: Foods to Remedy Insomnia

| 4/26/2011 11:25:46 AM

L.HoltThere are lots of reasons people have trouble getting to sleep. Stress, change in routine, caffeine overdose, diet, excess energy and hormonal disruption can all play a role. According to an article earlier this week, there are several foods that can help you get to sleep at night, whether you’re just heading to bed or you’ve woken up at 3 a.m.

The first food: tart cherries. Cherries naturally contain high levels of melatonin, which is often used as a sleep aid because it helps to control the internal body clock. A study by the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Sleep Research Lab suggests that the cherries may be most effective when consumed one hour before you intend to sleep. Both the whole fruit and tart cherry juice can be effective, although the juice may contain high levels of sugar. For a sweet, but less sugary beverage, try sweetening the tart cherry juice with stevia instead of sugar. 

 Tart cherries contain high levels of melatonin, a common sleep-aid.
Photo by simone-walsh/Courtesy Flickr

Another fruit for fighting insomnia is the banana. Bananas contain potassium and magnesium, both natural muscle relaxants that can encourage your body to let go of its fierce grip on wakefulness.

Whole grains, such as whole wheat toast or oatmeal, can also help you get to bed when you need to. The carbohydrates trigger insulin production, which in turn releases tryptophan and serotonin (both chemicals help your brain relax). Oatmeal also contains melatonin for your muscles.

Finally, the traditional favorite: warm milk. There’s a chemical in milk that turns into serotonin to help your relax, and the calcium also promotes sleep.