Insomnia is a serious problem faced by the modern society. Over 30 % of the population suffers from sleep problems.  The causes of insomnia vary greatly. It can be anxiety, stress, depression, bad diet or medication. While most people turn to prescription drugs to deal with their insomnia, other are looking for alternative medicine. Take a look at the list of foods to help you sleep. They can become your first step to a healthy lifestyle and an ultimate pillow friendship.
Not all the nuts will help you sleep, but the next time you want to start dreaming faster, consider the following two options:
Walnuts – These nuts contain the sleep-enhancing amino acid called tryptophan. It induces the production of serotonin and melatonin. These hormones set up your sleeping cycles. A study done at the University of Texas found that walnuts are also a source melatonin. 
Almonds – These nuts are rich in magnesium. This is a mineral required for healthy and quality sleep. It’s also known to fight headaches that can hinder your healthy sleeping cycles. Several studies linked reduced magnesium levels with sleep problems. That’s why foods to help you sleep should contain this mineral.
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt contain calcium. This mineral helps your body fight stress and allows you to fall asleep quicker. If you eat yogurt or kefir before going to sleep, it will serve several purposes:
- Give your body enough calcium to help your brain produce the sleep-inducing melatonin.
- Bring good bacteria to your stomach to induce proper digestion and help you avoid bad sleep due to stomach problems.
- Give your stomach something to work on.
Important tip: While pigging out before going to sleep will only lead to short sleeping cycles, eating something healthy before hitting the pillow will keep your stomach busy and induce healthy sleep.
While tea is on almost everyone’s list of foods to help you sleep, not all of them are created equal. Having a cup of tea before going to bed is a great way to fall asleep faster, but only if you brew the right variety. The wrong tea can have a reverse effect. Green and black tea may contain high levels of caffeine which will keep you from getting your z’s for hours. Your best bet would be to brew the tea yourself in order to be sure of the ingredients inside.
- Chamomile – Known to have a natural sedative effect.
- Valerian root – An herbal remedy that can promote sound sleep. It has a cumulative effect so should be used on a regular basis.
- Lavender – Known to calm anxiety.
- Lemon balm – A natural sedative with anti-anxiety properties.
- Peppermint – Contains menthol and has a relaxing effect. It also stimulates proper digestion.
- Magnolia bark – Can be used to treat anxiety disorders and promote sound sleep.
- Passionflower – A herb that can be used to treat anxiety, nervous disorders, and insomnia. Some studies showed that passionflower can boost melatonin production. 
Watermelon surpasses tomato in the amount of lycopene it contains. Besides being a wonderful food to lose weight, it can also improve your sleep. Just a few slices of watermelon in the evening can extend the deep sleep cycle by over 25 %. The carbohydrates found in the watermelon induce the body’s serotonin production. Serotonin reduces the brain’s sensitivity to disruptive noises.
Besides being on your list of foods to help you sleep, watermelon has plenty other important benefits. It boosts energy, increases libido, and acts as a natural sunscreen. Just make sure you don’t eat it right before going to bed or your sleep will be disrupted by frequent bathroom breaks.
Eating a bowl of cereal before going to bed can help you improve your sleep. Make sure that the cereal is low-sugar and whole-grain in order to avoid weight gain. Cereal is rich in complex carbohydrates that boost the amount of tryptophan in your blood. Adding milk to your cereal will make a great sleep-inducing meal.
Another perfect late-night snack is a banana. Banana is a great magnesium and potassium source. It helps you relax stressed muscles and fall asleep faster. Bananas also contain tryptophan which is converted into serotonin and melatonin – the vital hormones for calming your brain and allowing you to enjoy a long and healthy sleep. Bananas should get the top spot on the list of foods to help you sleep. 
Tart Cherry Juice
A study published in the European Journal of Medicine in 2011  showed that tart cherry juice may improve the sleep quality and duration. People who drank 2 ounces of tart cherry juice per day experienced a significant sleep improvement. Tart cherry juice increases the body’s melatonin levels which help regulate the sleep-wake cycles.
Omega-3-rich fish, such as mackerel, trout, herring, tuna, salmon, sardines, and bass can play a major role in helping you get a sound sleep. Studies showed that the omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can lead to decreased melatonin rhythm and weaker circadian clock functioning which results in disturbed night sleep. If you are not a big fish fan, you can take fish oil supplements. Fish oil stimulates the secretion of melatonin and lowers stress hormone levels. 
Chickpeas can become one of the foods to help you sleep thanks to their ability to increase Vitamin B6 amounts in your body. Vitamin B6 can be used by your organism to stimulate melatonin production. Chickpeas work as a preventive measure so devouring a bowl before going to sleep won’t help. You need to include them into your diet and consume them on a regular basis.
Foods to help you sleep are tasty and enjoyable. Factoring them into your diet shouldn’t be a problem. Give a few of them a try to single out the ones that work for you.