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Sleeping is our favorite sport but given our schedules, it’s a luxury which is pretty difficult to afford. Nothing comes close to a good night’s sleep. It just doesn’t have the advantage of making you feel more active and well rested but also comes with various other benefits. Few to list are:

-Makes you eat fewer calories
-Improves concentration and productivity
-Maximizes athletic performance
-Lessens the risk of heart disease and strokes
-Improves the immune function

If you’re one of those who just wouldn’t stop tossing and turning in their beds at night, here are few tips:

  • Keep a consistent sleeping schedule
    Having a consistent sleeping schedule is more important than we think. We often think that by going early to bed the following day would make up for the lost sleep, but the body clock’s ability to regulate healthy sleep patterns depends on consistency. The practice of having varying sleeping schedules only turns to disrupt your bodily rhythms and late-night weekends in particular can cause insomnia during the work week.

The best way to go about this problem is by setting a routine for waking up as well as going to bed around the same time, even on weekends. This way our brain would be reminded as to when to release sleep and wake hormones, and more importantly, when not to.

  • Give your body the right sleep signals
    This might come as a surprise, but our bodies need signals to even fall asleep and waking up. The most fundamental signal is that of darkness and light. Since we live and work in artificially lit environments and so miss out on the strongest regulatory signal of all, natural sunlight, we tend to require complete darkness for sleep. Darkness produces the sleep hormone called melatonin which helps us fall asleep better and quicker.

5 foods that can help you sleep better:

  1. Cherries
    Cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep. During the ten months of the year when cherries are out of season, dried cherries and cherry juice (especially tart cherry juice, which contains less sugar) are good substitutes. (Grapes also contain melatonin, but you need to eat more of them to get the same effect). To get the most out of cherries is to consume them an hour before bedtime.
  2. Bananas
    Bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium which are natural muscle relaxants. Not just that, they also carry amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin which in simple words means, more and better sleep for you.
  3. Toast
    If you have trouble with sleeping, turn to your favorite carbohydrates as late night snakes. Carbohydrate-rich foods cause a spike in your blood sugar levels which is followed by the lowering of insulin. This explains the boost of energy in the first few minutes after eating cards, then a “crash” of tiredness.

At night, this sleepiness can come in handy. Make a toast your perfect good night snack so that your brain releases the chemicals which promote relaxation and combat anxiety.

4. Oatmeal
Oatmeal is not just your perfect breakfast meal but can also work as a great late night snack. Another complex carbohydrate, oatmeal triggers a rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin production and the release of sleep-inducing brain chemicals. Oats are also rich in vitamin B6, an anti-stress vitamin, and melatonin.

5. Warm milk
Milk is another great food item which helps you sleep better. Combining milk with a carbohydrate-rich food like oatmeal, granola, or toast makes it much more effective. Like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases relaxing serotonin. It’s also high in calcium and other minerals, known to have a relaxing effect.

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