Sleep, Naturally

When it comes to choosing a sleep aid, one study found that whether the product was natural was a top factor, right up there with the perception on how well it worked, side effects, and how it would impact their quality of life. For the most natural sleep aid, look no further than your own pantry! Next time you’ve got the munchies before bed, try reaching for these foods.

Fortified cereal: Complex carbs can make you sleepy, but you don’t want to binge on a heavy meal right before bed. Instead, look for cereals that contain vitamins A, B, C, or D, and minerals such as iron and calcium—and be sure to avoid cereals high in sugar or refined flour.

Bananas: The combination of potassium and magnesium works to relax muscles to promote peaceful sleep.

Nuts and seeds: Your favorite crunchy snacks— such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews—contain magnesium and the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is instrumental in the production of the mood-regulating chemical serotonin and the hormone melatonin, which controls the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Source: Society for Medical Decision Making

More Sleep Tips & Facts

Stop the snooze. Get out of bed at the first alarm, not after you hit the snooze button three times—the European Sleep Research Society recently found that spending a longer time in bed was associated with longer bouts of poor sleep, especially if you already struggle with insomnia. Aim for eight hours of sleep, and physically distance yourself from your alarm device so you are forced to rise and shine. Source: Journal of Sleep Research

Follow a regular nighttime routine and stick to your bedtime. Sleeping fewer than six hours each night has been linked to chronic illnesses—including coronary heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and obesity. Source: CDC

28: The percentage of US adults who say they sleep six hours or fewer each night. Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

80: The percentage of Americans who say they would feel better and more prepared for their day if they had slept an additional hour. Source: Better Sleep Council