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Every night it’s the same, you try to get to sleep earlier and get more ZZzzs but somehow it never works out like you hope it will. Have you looked at your diet? Noshing on the right foods in the hours before bedtime might just help you get the shut eye you crave and it could even improve the quality of the sleep that you get. Make sure you stop eating about two hours before bedtime because a stomach that’s busy digesting food will be too busy to let you get a good night’s sleep.

  • Sip a cup of tea – decaf only. Chamomile tea has long been thought to be a sleep aid. Green tea, which contains theanine, helps promote sleep, again, just make sure your tea is of the decaf variety.
  • A handful of almonds are a sleep inducing winner. Almonds contain magnesium and that promotes not only sleep but helps relax your muscles, they also have the added benefit of supplying proteins which help stabilize your blood sugar level and promote sleep by switching your body from the adrenaline producing cycle to a rest-digest mode. Have a tablespoon of almond butter or a handful of almonds.
  • Try a Japanese favorite — Miso Soup. This broth-based soup contains amino acid and that may boost the production of melatonin a natural hormone that helps induce sleep.
  • Peel a banana. Bananas pack a punch of magnesium and potassium and those pack a punch that help relax overstressed muscles. Bananas also contain tryptophan, the same sleep-inducing ingredient found in turkey, and that also helps calm your brain. For something new, blend a banana with a cup of milk for a bedtime smoothie treat.
  • Not for breakfast any more – oatmeal and cereal. Enjoy a bowl of warm oatmeal before bedtime as a way to add quality to your sleep. Oatmeal is soft, warm and soothing, it’s also rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium – all beneficial for sleep. If oatmeal isn’t for you, why not have a bowl of low-sugar, whole-grain cereal instead? Cereal is a complex carbohydrate and those foods increase – again – tryptophan!
  • Bring on the dairy. Cheese, milk or yogurt all contain tryptophan and the notion of a glass of warm milk as being sleep inducing is a proven fact. Calcium helps reduce stress by stabilizing the nerve fibers in your brain.

Those mentioned above are only the tip of the sleep inducing food iceberg: Snacks that contain protein – like a hard boiled egg can help you fall asleep more quickly and if you’re craving a salty snack why not try lightly salted edamame (soy nuts); they contain a natural estrogen-like compound that can control nighttime hot flashes.

If you find you’re having trouble falling asleep pick a tasty treat from the list to enjoy before bedtime and you just might fall into a more restful slumber.

 Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; https://valleysleepcenter.com