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tea and honey

If you’ve been tossing and turning all night perhaps it was something you ate. Or maybe something you didn’t eat! It’s time for some foods for better sleep.

We all know that caffeine, spicy foods and too much to drink can interfere with a good night’s rest. But there are some foods that can actually help you sleep better at night. Here are the top five that may help make hitting the hay all that much easier.

  1. Cherries: This delicious fruit contains naturally high levels of melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone that is the key to a good night’s sleep. If fresh cherries are out of season, dried tart versions and cherry juice appear to be just as effective.
  2. Bananas: High in magnesium and potassium, bananas might well be the perfect snack before bedtime. Magnesium is thought to be key in maintaining normal sleep patterns, with even a small deficiency contributing to insomnia.
  3. Almonds: Another treat that contains magnesium as well as supplying protein, almonds can helps put you in the right “mood” for sleep. Try some warm almond milk as a bedtime beverage.
  4. Walnuts: These nuts not only contain melatonin, but also tryptophan, the amino acid found in turkey that is credited for the after-Thanksgiving dinner couch nap syndrome. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, and then melatonin, the magic sleep hormone.
  5. Herbal tea and honey: Chamomile tea has been long known to be a sleep-enhancer. Studies have shown that the herb increases glycine, which can act as a mild sedative. Another variety of  tea made from passionfruit was found in an Australian study to improve sleep, most likely due to high levels of alkaloids found in the flower. And what goes better in tea than honey? Aside from adding sweetness, honey can also help you metabolize tryptophan more easily.
  6. A bowl of cereal: While it might seem more like “wake-up” food, sometimes a small bowl of cereal is perfect before going to bed — and f you have some dried cherries to top it with,  that’s an extra sleepy-time bonus. It will keep you from going to bed hungry without keeping you up at night.

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Linda Bonvie

Linda Bonvie is an author and consumer advocate with over 20 years of experience researching and writing about food safety, health and environmental issues. She is the editor of FoodIdentityTheft.com, for which she writes twice weekly blogs, and is co-author of Chemical-Free Kids: How to Safeguard Your Child’s Diet and Environment (2003) and Chemical-Free Kids: the Organic Sequel (2008), as well as The Stevia Story: a tale of incredible sweetness and intrigue (1997). Articles she has co-authored with her brother Bill have been published in a number of top magazines and many major newspapers. One, an expose on the spraying of passengers on international flights with a toxic pesticide, which was published back in 1993, led to the requirement being dropped by a couple dozen countries after then-Transportation Secretary Federico Pena became personally involved in the issue.