Have you ever noticed you have a better night's sleep after a hearty meat-based meal or a cup of herbal tea?
Studies have shown that there are foods that are actually conducive to a solid slumber when eaten in the evening. Even better news is these things are great for your body! Did someone say, pass the TV munchies?
Nuts & beans
Certain legumes such as beans, peas and peanuts contain a healthy dose of magnesium, which is a powerful relaxation mineral. Walnuts (for their melatonin) and almonds (for their magnesium) too are a standout snack for a better night's sleep because they help the body to relax.
Including a lean protein like fish, chicken or turkey onto your dinner plate can help to make you sleepy. They contain Trytophan, an amino acid that can increase your serotonin levels and bring on the heavy eye lids.
The high calcium levels in yogurt and other dairy products will help your body de-stress after a busy day and allow you to fall asleep more quickly. It's a great way to quell after-dinner hunger pains, and when eaten as a nighttime snack, low-fat yogurt introduces good bacteria into your digestive system which will be hard at work while you're catching some ZZZZ's.
If you're one of those people who turn to fruit for a sugar-kick after dinner, try reaching for a banana or bowl of cherries. The magnesium and potassium found in bananas are both natural muscle relaxants while cherries are a fantastic natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle.
Grapefruit, papaya and watermelon, while generally considered breakfast fruits, also have high levels of Lycopene, an antioxidant that improves the way you sleep.
Strawberries also make the list, as their high levels of Vitamin C can assist with a peaceful sleep. Try a strawberry smoothie or add some fresh berries to your night-time yogurt!
Tea & milk
Favourite old remedies like a glass of warm milk or cup of herbal tea in the evenings should not be overlooked. The calming effects of a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea can help you fall asleep faster. Milk too can help you relax before bedtime. The ritual of drinking warm milk or tea at night can be very soothing and help you power down from a busy day. If you do this every night, it signals the brain and body it is time for bed.
While all these foods can help you get a longer, more restful sleep, as a standard rule, you should give your body some time to digest foods, so none of these should be eaten too close to bed time.