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Eating These Foods Can Help You Sleep Better, According to Nutritionist

When sleep is hard to come by, you'll do almost whatever to catch some z's. From taking sleep supplements like melatonin to changing bedtime routines, most (exhausted) people will try a number of tricks to sleep better. But should you consider changing up your diet during the day to get better sleep?




According to nutrition pros, what you eat can certainly have an effect on your sleep. While there are a ton of factors that affect how well you sleep at night, it's worth taking a look at what you are consuming every day to see if it's priming you for optimal rest later.


"A balanced diet can help manage blood sugar levels and minimize inflammation, which is important for stopping pain and getting sound sleep," says Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition. "Getting enough macronutrients (carbs, fats and protein) additionally assists your body in creating calming chemicals like serotonin and melatonin, which help you feel relaxed and sleepy."


Certain foods can help you sleep better if you consume them before bed or when you wake up in the middle of the night -- but the seven foods below can help you sleep better no matter when you consume them. Again, the key to consuming well for sleep is to consume a mindful, balanced diet overall -- no one food is a magic bullet, but these can help you get some much-needed rest.


Nutrients that are vital for sleep

The foods under help you sleep better because they all contain nutrients that can promote better health in general, and in turn better sleep. "Eat a variety of unprocessed, whole foods that are high in antioxidants and fiber. Try to combine foods that provide different macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein), which ensures you are meeting your nutrient needs," says Axe. He additionally adds that it's a good idea to stop consuming 2 to 3 hours before bed so you have time to digest your food before going to sleep and do not run into issues with acid reflux.


Outside of the macronutrients, Axe says some micronutrients can affect sleep as well. So if you suspect you are deficient in something, you should ask your doctor to run labs to know more. "It's possible that a vitamin D or magnesium deficiency can interrupt sleep. Some evidence additionally shows that people low in vitamins E and C, and B12 and B6 might additionally suffer from more sleep problems," says Axe. "Each of these nutrients affects sleep cycles in a different way, such as by playing a role in your circadian rhythm and body's ability to produce melatonin and other calming chemicals."


7 types of food to help you sleep better

"Sleep-promoting foods include those that contain tryptophan (an amino acid that helps with the release of serotonin), magnesium, vitamin D and complex carbs," says Axe. "Foods high in vitamin C and B vitamins can additionally be helpful."


Below are Axe's top picks for sleep-promoting foods.


• Whole grains like oats or quinoa


• Proteins like poultry and fish


• Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies


• Free-range eggs


• Bananas, kiwi, oranges, berries and different fruits


• Milk and yogurt


• Nuts like almonds and cashews


Originally published: Cnet.com

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