Poor sleep can affect just about everything else in life, reducing your ability to focus while amping up anxiety, stress, and fatigue. This is especially true for menopausal women, who often deal with mood swings and hot flashes already.
If you’re having trouble dozing off—whether it’s night sweats, anxiety, or general restlessness keeping you up—it’s never a bad idea to call in natural reinforcements. Kindra’s Core Supplement is a great place to start: Taken daily, it has been shown to reduce on night sweats. That’s thanks to ingredients like Ashwagandha, which reduces stress and Pycnogenol, which promotes healthy circulation.
Adding a daily supplement to your routine isn’t the only way to take back bedtime, either. Plenty of foods, from animal proteins like salmon or turkey to plant-based foods such as chickpeas and nuts, offer sleep-enriching benefits, too. Here, we’ve rounded up four easy-to-find foods that can optimize your diet for sleep.
Nuts and Seeds
Whether you’re snacking on seasoned pumpkin seeds or sprinkling walnuts on a hearty fall salad, nuts and seeds can be an excellent source of magnesium—a crucial mineral for good sleep as well as for many other bodily functions. Lowered levels of the essential macro-mineral have been linked to insomnia and restless nights, while consciously integrating more magnesium has been shown to promote deep, healthy sleep—and regulate blood pressure and glucose levels.
Try adding this chickpea, sweet potato, and walnut salad to your dinner menu rotation. The walnuts offer magnesium as well as a significant serving of tryptophan, which helps your body produce melatonin. And with more than 100 mg of magnesium per serving, the chickpeas are no slouch either. Other foods with magnesium include bananas, spinach, and some yogurts.
Salmon and Swordfish
If you find yourself feeling sleepy all day, it could be Vitamin D deficiency, an issue that plagues more than 40% of all adults. At optimum levels, Vitamin D promotes healthy circadian rhythms—an unsurprising piece of information when you consider that natural sunlight is the most common source of the stuff. You can increase your Vitamin D levels by simply stepping outside, but in the fall and winter months, it can be more difficult to get enough sunlight to move the dial.
Enter Vitamin D-rich foods such as salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish—as well as mushrooms, eggs, and fortified dairy. These foods can promote healthy sleep rhythms in addition to a whole host of other benefits, including helping with bone density. Fish also serves as a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which regulate stress hormones and reduce inflammation to promote more restful sleep, too. For a weeknight feast, consider this salmon with sauteed mushrooms, shallots, and fresh herbs, which gently steams the fish in a conventional oven for a low-stress, high-satisfaction bite. Or turn to mackerel—a particularly cost-efficient seafood main—for this bright vinaigrette-topped number served with new potatoes.
Turkey and Chicken
Yes, there’s a scientific reason why you might doze off after a big Thanksgiving dinner: Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, can contribute to the bodily processes that eventually produce the serotonin and melatonin that help you doze off. To help your sleep year-round, try integrating tryptophan-rich foods outside of your annual Turkey Day meal. Eggs, for example, can be excellent sources of the stuff—consider baking them in a veggie-rich frittata or even pickling them in soy sauce for a salty kick.
Weeknight turkey dishes, such as this killer chili, make great choices, too. And for a meat-free source of this super serotonin producer, turn to sweet potatoes, which contain nearly a third of the recommended daily value. These Mediterranean-baked stuffed sweet potatoes, for example, make for a smoky-flavored main course and come with added nutrients from chickpeas and cherry tomatoes.
Tart Cherries, Pineapples, and Bananas
When it comes to getting plenty of rest, melatonin can be a superhero ingredient, which can be found in many foods. Tart cherries are especially known for their melatonin content, but they can also provide modest amounts of tryptophan. These potent little berries are also a favorite of long-distance runners for their capacity to reduce muscle soreness, and scientists have connected them to reduced arthritis symptoms, too.
To cash in on the many benefits of this antioxidant-rich ingredient, integrate tart cherry juice into a high-protein smoothie—bananas, pineapples, and oranges have all been known to increase melatonin production, too—or try swapping processed desserts for these oatmeal-crumble topped cherry pie bars. When you do indulge, be sure to monitor your sugar intake. While fruits can deliver loads of important nutrients, too much sugar can be detrimental to your sleep patterns. Sugar can also be found in food sources we don't normally think about, like wine. Next time you reach for a glass with your meal, try Dry Farm Wines curated selection which is thoroughly tested to be sugar free, organic, and lower in sulfites. Say goodbye to hangovers and poor sleep!