Insomnia is the most commonly reported sleep problem for people of all ages, and it affects nearly half of adults 60 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health. There are a wide variety of treatments for insomnia, but many people prefer to go the natural route and address their eating, exercise or activity habits before considering medical alternatives. AARP.org recently published a list of foods that promote sleep naturally, adding that evening snacks should be kept light and eaten no later than half an hour before bed.
Some highlighted nosh from the list:
- Lentils are packed with magnesium, potassium and protein, all of which encourage restful and uninterrupted sleep.
- Bananas contain large amounts of magnesium and potassium (muscle-relaxing minerals), as well as tryptophan, an amino acid that’s been linked to better sleep quality.
- Cherries, especially tart varieties like Montmorency and Morello, are one of only a few food sources of melatonin, the hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles.
- Green tea contains theanine, an amino acid that encourages relaxation—just be sure the tea is decaffeinated!
- Walnuts are another natural source of melatonin, and they also bolster your body’s ability to handle stress.
- Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are full of tryptophan. Chickpeas also contain folate and vitamin B-6, which help regulate sleep patterns in older adults in particular.
Image credit: Freeimages.com/Marta Rostek