Most people recognize that the Turkey Day Food Coma results from the Trytophan Effect (the amino acid found in foods like turkey meat causes droopy eyelids and a powerful urge to nap). But when you're actually having trouble falling asleep, turkey isn't always exactly a go-to snack to keep on-hand. Ahead, several sleep-inducing foods that can function as midnight snacks or diet additions to help keep your circadian clock in-step.
The food many people turn to anyways when they're sad and tired but can't get back to sleep also happens to have sleep-inducing effects. Many fortified cereals like Cheerios and shredded wheat varieties contain vitamin b6, which is one thing that'll make it easier to sleep soundly.
The chickpeas in hummus are a valuable source of trytophan and b6, the vitamin that helps you produce the sleep hormone melatonin. If you're looking for a healthier, low-calorie midnight snack, try a slice of whole-grain bread with hummus or a little bit of hummus with crackers.
Bulgar, barley, and whole grains are a rich source of magnesium, which helps you stay asleep, and promotes insulin production, which can make the trytophan more active in the body.
From sunflower to flax to sesame, little seeds won't be tough to process before bed and the seeds contain comparable levels of tryptophan to turkey meat.
This superfood boasts a high concentration of calcium that's helpful for propelling sleep hormones into action.
People often recommend drinking warm milk to get back to sleep, because of the way calcium helps people process tryptophan and melatonin in the body. But any dairy product contains calcium, and the American Sleep Association recommends both yogurt and honey (which contains calming glucose) as foods to cure insomnia.
Nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc.) contain moderate levels of tryptophan, and are a filling snack to eat if you wake up in the middle of the night starving.
The protein in cheese provides trytophan, while the calcium also helps people to fall asleep easier. Coupled with the carbohydrates in the crackers, which can help more trytophan get to the brain, the combo is a healthy way to get yourself to stop tossing and turning.
You're probably not planning to roll out of bed and throw a fish fillet on the skillet, but a good way to help maintain melatonin levels in the bloodstream is to eat more fish like salmon and tuna. Fish are abundant sources of vitamin b6, which produces melatonin.