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Getting a good night's sleep is paramount to maintaining your health. Your diet, especially your evening food choices can have a big impact on your quality of sleep. Food directly affects serotonin, a key hormone along with other vitamins that helps promote healthy sleep. Consuming foods that calm the body and increase serotonin levels will help get you ready for a restful night's sleep.

 

Here are a few good choices to help start your night off right.

 

Complex Carbs


Whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, crackers and brown rice are all excellent choices. They are filling, healthy and promote higher serotonin levels. However, try to avoid simple carbs, including processed breads, pasta and sweets such as cookies, cakes, pastries and other sugary foods. These tend to reduce serotonin levels and do not promote restful sleep.

 

Lean Proteins


Lean proteins like low-fat cheese, chicken, turkey and fish should be high on your list. These choices are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels. However, do avoid high-fat cheeses, fried fish and chicken. These take longer to digest and may keep you awake.

 

Heart-healthy Fats


Unsaturated fat will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels. Good choices include natural peanut butter and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. Try to avoid foods with saturated and trans fats, such as french fries, potato chips or other highly processed high-fat snack foods. These will bring your serotonin levels down and may cause digestion issues that can keep you awake.

 

Beverages


Before bedtime, try a good soothing beverage like warm milk or an herbal tea with chamomile or peppermint.

 

Fresh Herbs


Fresh herbs can have a calming effect on the body. Common herbs like sage and basil contain chemicals that reduce tension and promote sleep. A little sprinkle on your evening meal may be just the trick to promote a restful night's sleep.

 

A healthy diet is one of the first steps in promoting healthy sleeping habits. Also be sure to take a fresh look at your sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be free from distractions and your sleeping area free from potential irritants and allergens.