Some nights are harder than others to fall asleep. You have a test the next day; you’re anticipating visiting your long-lost cousins in Nebraska; you’re facing the first day of a new job. Whatever the case, here are six foods that can help rock your tummy (and the rest of you) to sleep.
1. Dark Chocolate
There’s some debate about this, but many believe that dark chocolate, despite the caffeine and sugar, can be helpful on sleepless nights. It contains serotonin, which acts as a lullaby for even the most anxious of minds.
A UC Berkeley staple, hummus is a great food to eat when you’re having trouble sleeping because chickpeas or garbanzo beans, the main ingredient in hummus, boost vitamin B6, which in turn creates melatonin. Melatonin is your body’s natural way of powering down, but it operates best when it’s dark. So on your next sleepless night, turn down the lights and have a romantic date with a bowl of homemade hummus or a spoonful of roasted chickpeas (if you’re feeling especially adventurous, try the red, purple or black varieties like pictured above).
There have been a handful of studies done to prove that cherries cure insomnia with older adults. Though a consensus has yet to be reached, one thing is for sure: cherries, like chickpeas, help your body produce enough melatonin for a trip to dream land.
After Thanksgiving many people experience a phenomenon dubbed “postprandial somnolence” or more simply “the food coma.” There’s a reason for this. Turkey has a high level of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body create serotonin. Turkey actually makes a good bedtime snack because it does its best work on an empty stomach.
Pretzels are little knots of carbohydrates that cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. This helps you fall asleep faster because it lets trytophan enter your brain. With a handful of Pretzel Crisps (pictured above), you won’t wake up hungry or full—just well rested.
Cereal, especial whole grain cereal, has a good deal of magnesium in it. Magnesium helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Add a splash of milk (another good food for sleeplessness), and you won’t even have to flip the pillow over to the cool side to fall asleep.
Try any of these foods the next time you’re tossing and turning or check out five more foods that our friends at Spoon‘s Northwestern chapter recommend for particularly sleepless nights. Sweet dreams.