Nutrient Nation: Sleep supporting foods

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There’s no denying that you will feel your best after a solid night’s sleep. But sleep does more than improve your mood the next day. Sleep can help you manage your weight, improve productivity, maximize athletic performance and support your immune system.

You might be wondering what you can eat to ensure a great night’s rest. Check out these sleep-supporting foods.

Melatonin

Put simply, melatonin is a hormone that alerts your body as to when it’s night time so that you can relax and fall asleep naturally. It has been reported that melatonin can improve sleep efficiency. Likewise, eating melatonin-rich foods could assist sleep.

Food sources of melatonin: eggs, fish, grapes, cherries, strawberries, almonds and pistachios.

Magnesium

Magnesium is crucial for health and plays a role in hundreds of cellular reactions in the body. Specifically, magnesium helps reduce inflammation and lowers blood pressure, which can lead to improved sleep. How does it does this? Magnesium activates neurotransmitters in the body that help calm the body and mind. Without sufficient magnesium intake, sleep quality might suffer. Magnesium plays a role in a restful night’s sleep by supporting the body’s nervous system.

Food sources of magnesium: spinach, quinoa, almonds, cashews, black beans and edamame.

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that acts as a precursor for both serotonin and melatonin. In other words, your body needs adequate tryptophan levels in order to produce enough serotonin and ultimately melatonin.

Food sources of tryptophan: seeds, nuts, fish, chicken, eggs and tofu.

Chamomile

Chamomile is an herb, traditionally consumed as a tea, that has been used for centuries because of it’s properties that may support sleep and digestion. Chamomile contains a flavonoid, apigenin, that binds to certain receptors in the brain that may promote sleepiness.

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