According to studies conducted by Stanford Center of Sleep Sciences and Medicine, nearly 1 in 10 adults in the United States suffer from insomnia. Although a large proportion of these people suffer from short-term insomnia, many of them suffer from chronic insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep for more than six months). There is no doubt that such sleep deprivation can be detrimental to the quality of one’s life.
Stress related to family and work is the number one cause of insomnia, however, eating the wrong foods – those high in sugar, caffeine, gluten – can also be a contributing factor. The following five foods are known to improve the quality of sleep:
- Almonds – These are one of the best foods for treating insomnia, as they are rich in magnesium (a natural muscle relaxant and contains anti-stress properties).
- Cherries – Due to their melatonin (hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles) content, cherries and cherry products have often been linked to improved sleep.
- Bananas – Although bananas are commonly thought of as energy boosters, they can also function as a sleep aid because bananas are high in magnesium, potassium and tryptophan – the “magic trio” of sleep boosters.
- Valerian – The root of the valerian plant (which is consumed in tea or tincture form) has long been used as a sleep enhancer since Ancient Greece and Rome.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is usually associated with breakfast, but its nutritional composition – rich in magnesium and potassium – also makes it a suitable food for insomnia sufferers.