We all know that it’s hard to feel good throughout the day without first getting a good night’s rest. And if you’ve ever had trouble falling or staying asleep, you’ve probably amassed a few tips: Some people say to be more active during the day, others will tell you to avoid using electronic devices before bed, and still others will say that creating and sticking to a specific regimen (i.e. waking and going to bed at the same time every day) is what really does the trick.
Our diet may also be connected to how well we sleep, and research suggests that certain nutrients, such as vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium, may be particularly beneficial. And as they are readily found in some of our favorite foods, it’s actually quite easy (not to mention delicious!) to enjoy these nutrients for better sleep:
B vitamins, and in particular vitamin B6, have been shown in some studies to be an important contributor to the creation of tryptophan and the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Try incorporating more foods rich in vitamin B6 into your diet, such as chickpeas (which you may enjoy in this Wild Rice, Quinoa, Chickpea and Veggie Soup) as well as spinach and fish like salmon (both featured in this Citrus Salmon and Herbed Ancient Grains.) For a sweet treat, you may also opt to get your vitamin B6 from bananas (like in these Banana Quinoa Muffins.)
Studies have shown a possible connection between calcium (a neurotransmitter that relaxes the body by slowing down nerve transmissions) and melatonin production. Increase your calcium intake by eating yogurt (a key ingredient in this Tandoori-Style Yogurt Chicken with Curried Ancient Grains) and other dairy products, as well as kale (one of our favorite leafy greens, found in this Warming Mushroom and Kale Risotto.)
According to this article published by Livestrong.com: “Magnesium aids in calming the nerves and relaxing the muscles, which in turn can help individuals to fall asleep.” Along with yogurt, bananas, fish and dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale, whole grains are a known source of magnesium. There is no shortage of recipes featuring whole grains on our recipes page, but we also suggest you try enjoying the benefits of whole grains in our new Ancient Harvest Hot Breakfast Cereals. By starting the day off right with a warming blend of gluten-free grains, you may even be setting yourself up to enjoy a better night’s sleep.
Looking for more ways to feel better this year? Join our 15 Day Feel Good Challenge, and follow the #FEELGOOD2015 conversation on social media.