Losing sleep can weaken your immune system, which is the last thing any of us need in the middle of a global pandemic! If that wasn’t bad enough, a lack of sleep can also increase your risk of injury during intense workouts, and alter your appetite-regulation hormones making you feel hungrier while simultaneously intensifying cravings. 

While we all know that inadequate sleep is bad for us, we are a sleep deprived nation, with up to one-third of us failing to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Well it’s not all doom and gloom, turns out that certain foods can help you sleep easier, deeper and better at night, so here are some food items that most, if not all of us will have lying around in our kitchen.

Tart Montmorency Cherries

Okay so while most of us don’t have a punnet of sour Montmorency cherries in our fridge, they made the list because they are high in melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. In one small study conducted, participants experienced longer and more refreshing sleep after consuming a juice concentrate made from this fruit.

Research has found that adding tart cherries to your diet can improve both quality and quantity of sleep in individuals who suffer from insomnia. While fresh tart cherries are harder to find than sweet ones, you can find them frozen, dried, or in juice form. 

Almonds

Just an ounce of almonds supplies nearly 25% of the magnesium a woman needs per day, and this mineral is sorely lacking in our diets. In fact, almost 80 % of us aren’t taking in sufficient magnesium, and poor magnesium levels can be related to insomnia.

In order to fall asleep, your brain needs to relax, and magnesium can help with the process. The receptors that magnesium binds to in the brain are known as the GABA receptors, and these are the very same ones that prescription sleep pills act upon. Because of their high magnesium levels, almonds are one of the top foods that help you sleep better.

Oats

In a study that looked at the sleep differences among several diets, it was found that participants experienced fewer sleep disturbances on a high-carb diet compared to any of the others. Oats are a great source of carbohydrates, as well as a good source of magnesium. Get your day off to the right start and end by incorporating a bowl of overnight oats for breakfast. You can toss in some almonds and yoghurt for an even better sleep!

Yoghurt

The health of your microbiome is connected to your sleep patterns. An increasing number of studies point to the fact that your microbiome is involved in regulating your mood, your stress levels, and your sleep rhythms. In fact, the species of bacteria in your gut likely adhere to a circadian rhythm much like we do.

One of the best ways to keep your microbiome healthy is to increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut, with probiotic-rich foods. Simply eating a yogurt or probiotic rich snack three or four times a week can increase beneficial gut bacteria as well as the diversity of bacterial strains.

Vitamin C And Omega-3 Rich Foods

Stress makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. But eating foods rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce circulating stress hormones in the body.