Don’t Forget Your Fruits and Veggies: The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables for Sleep|
If you’ve been reading the isense blog, you’re learning how every aspect of your lifestyle can influence your sleep quality. This includes what you eat. That might feel like just another thing to think about while you try to sleep at night. But this is good news! You and your partner don’t have to follow a fad diet or cut out your favorite foods to experience your best night’s sleep. Just spend some time at your local farmers market or take a spin around the produce section, because there are several delicious fruits and vegetables that help you sleep naturally.
We’ve rounded up 10 veggies and fruits that help you sleep better. Don’t worry about eating a huge produce haul right before bed though. Put them in your morning smoothie, include them in your favorite dishes and try new recipes as a couple.
Fruits and Vegetables That Help You Sleep
Eating fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies has many well-known health benefits. For example, you’ve probably heard how important it is to eat bananas because they contain the electrolyte potassium, which helps your body stay hydrated and relaxes muscles. But did you know that bananas also contain minerals that help you sleep soundly? And they aren’t the only fruits that can help you sleep better. There are several vegetables that help you sleep, too, and some of them might surprise you.
We kept you in suspense long enough. In addition to potassium, the average banana contains about 32 mg of magnesium. Recent studies have shown that magnesium can help alleviate restless leg syndrome and increase the neurotransmitter GABA. As a result, this powerful one-two punch helps you achieve a comfortable sleep position and slows an active, anxious mind before bed. If you or your partner experience restlessness of any kind, it’s time to make a banana shake (or banana split, yum!).
- Tart Cherries
One of the more powerful fruits that will help you sleep are tart cherries. You can most commonly find tart cherry juice to drink throughout the day or mix in your smoothie. Recently, research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the combination of several phytonutrients in tart cherries, including deep red pigments called anthocyanins, significantly reduce insomnia.
Research has shown major sleep benefits for any food that can naturally provide your body with serotonin because it partners with another hormone, melatonin, to balance your body’s circadian rhythm. A small study at Taipei Medical University found that eating 1-2 kiwis before bed improved sleep quality by 42.4 percent and helped people fall asleep 35.4 percent faster than if they had not eaten the kiwis. Yeah, we vote for eating the kiwis.
Do you like piña coladas? If you and your partner both answered yes, you’re not just reliving a classic Rupert Holmes song. You’re one drink closer to a great night’s sleep (just skip the rum before bed). Pineapple helps your body produce melatonin, so enjoy this tropical treat with a couple of kiwis for ultimate relaxation. Who knew your favorite beach cocktail contained fruits that can help you sleep?
Before digging into the veggies, we’ve got to talk about watermelon. Like all melons, watermelon contains high levels of potassium. It’s also high in beta-cryptoxanthin, a pigment that may help protect joints from pain and inflammation. In the mattress community, we know that preventing joint pain can help many couples and individuals of all ages get their best night’s sleep.
- Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in potassium and fiber. Potassium helps your muscles relax and balances hydration in your body, and fiber helps you feel full. If late-night cravings keep you up at night, try adding sweet potatoes to your dinner menu. You and your partner will go to bed feeling full, relaxed and have you ready to wake up with refreshed muscles for a new day.
Carrots are among the top vegetables that help you sleep because they’re packed with alpha-carotene. There haven’t been many studies specifically focused on alpha-carotene and sleep, but existing research suggests that people who lack alpha-carotene in their diet usually have a difficult time falling asleep. Sweet potatoes are another veggie that contains this powerful nutrient. More reason to whip up a comforting stew with hearty root vegetables.
The verdict is in. You don’t have to drink a glass of milk before bed to experience the sleep-inducing benefits of calcium. In 100 grams of kale, you’ll get 150 mg of calcium compared to just 125 mg of calcium found in the same amount of milk. Kale also contains potassium and magnesium, while milk contains lactose, which can be difficult for humans to digest before bed. In fact, 65 percent of the human population can’t digest lactose as adults.
Leafy greens like spinach and collard greens contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that, once ingested, turns into the neurotransmitter serotonin. And by now, we all know how important serotonin is for sleeping well. Spinach is a quadruple threat when it comes to helping you sleep since it also contains calcium, potassium and magnesium (twice as much as kale). Popeye probably slept like a baby.
Edamame is technically a legume—the whole soybean to be specific. But it’s easily available to purchase locally in many areas around the country, so don’t count it out. Packed with fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and calcium, this mighty bean will help you feel full and sleep soundly. Plus, it’s recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Eating Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables That Help You Sleep
Fresh produce contains vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help you sleep restfully while supporting other aspects of your health, like disease prevention and long-term weight loss. But, if you’re new to centering meals around plants, the thought of buying and preparing the right fruits and veggies can be intimidating. Keep in mind that you don’t have to eat all 10 of these foods every day. In fact, eating seasonally and locally is more affordable and environmentally friendly.
When you shop and eat in season, fruits and veggies you’re consuming are fresher, resulting in a higher nutritional value and better taste. Plus, you’re not paying a premium for produce that is not as readily available at the moment. This applies to produce at your grocery store and your community farmers market. If you shop from local farmers in your area, you won’t be left paying traveling or shipping expenses and production costs that would typically be passed down to the consumer.
At isense, we believe sleep is central to living your best life and growing as a couple. Our goal is to solve real-life problems for real couples like you. That’s why our mattresses are unique and why our approach to sleep quality goes beyond your bedroom. As you incorporate vegetables and fruits that help you sleep into your lifestyle, mix it up and enjoy new dishes as a couple. The next time you blend up a smoothie together, add some of these delicious fresh ingredients and toast to your best night’s sleep.