It’s pretty hard to overstate just how much sleep matters when it comes to maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. A previous post by guest author Carolyn Burke went into more depth on the benefits of sleep. She wrote that sleep is vital to your bodily functions. It allows your organs and blood vessels the time to repair themselves, helps your body react properly to insulin, and contributes to the proper function of your immune system. What about the foods we put into our bodies. Could there be important nutrients to help you sleep?
Not everyone can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, however, but there are definitely ways to help the process along. Food is one of them. Below, we’ve listed a few nutrients and vitamins that can help you relax and get that full night of sleep that you need.
You can’t talk about sleep without talking about melatonin. Melatonin is the main hormone affecting your sleep. It regulates your circadian rhythm and tells you when to sleep and when to wake up.
Melatonin can be found in nuts like pistachios and walnuts, as well strawberries, tart cherries, grapes, tomatoes, and corn. If you prefer supplement form, the Natrol Melatonin time release tablets are fast-acting and sustained-release, which is great for people with interrupted sleep. This helps you fall asleep quickly, but also releases sustained amounts of melatonin to help you sleep through the night.
Vitamin D is usually associated with the sun, so it might not rank high when you think of things you need to sleep. However, research has actually shown a link between vitamin D and sleep quality. Deficiencies can lead to insomnia and poor sleep quality, so it’s important to make sure you integrate vitamin D into your diet.
Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as in cheese, egg yolks, and of course is produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight. For the supplement option, Brightcore Radiance vitamin D3 supplement is a gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free option with 2000 IU of vitamin D3 per serving. Not only does it help with sleep, it also enhances your mood and boosts your immune system, so you feel good both asleep and awake.
Magnesium plays a number of roles in our bodies, and one of those important roles involves sleep. It calms the nervous system down, and is part of the process of converting protein into chemicals that make you feel sleepy. Not only that, magnesium helps with muscle relaxation and helps maintain levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps you tone down the feeling of being awake.
Magnesium can be found in dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Because of poor soil nutrient quality, however, many people turn to supplements for their magnesium needs. Zhou Nutrition’s Magnesium Glycinate Complex is a good option for this, as it’s an easy-to-absorb supplement with few side effects. Magnesium glycinate is notable because it calms your brain down, relieving anxiety and promoting better sleep.
L-tyrptophan, also known as tryptophan, is an essential amino acid that can affect your mood. It plays a crucial part in producing the hormone serotonin, which helps regulate your mood and happiness, as well as managing anxiety. This makes it essential for maintaining high quality sleep.
Tryptophan can be found in canned tuna, milk, poultry like turkey and chicken, oats, and cheese. If you want to boost your tryptophan levels with a supplement, Amazing Formulas L-Tryptophan is particularly good. Each capsule contains 1000mg of tryptophan, with magnesium to help with stability. It’s a great option for reducing stress and promoting restful sleep.
B Complex Vitamins
According to research, appropriate levels of the vitamins B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12 can help promote good sleep. These vitamins regulate the body’s level of tryptophan, which in turn produces serotonin that can convert to melatonin.
You can get all eight B vitamins from whole grains, red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes like beans or lentils, and seeds and nuts. On the supplement front, Transparent Labs RawSeries Vitamin B Complex is popular thanks to its affordable price and incredible amount of vitamin B12— actually 41,666% of the recommended daily amount. It also has additional nutrients like vitamin C and choline, which can help regulate mood.
Vitamins, nutrients, and hormones not only help us function while we’re awake, but also play a vital role in helping us get sleep. It should be noted, however, that although they can make getting to sleep easier, the above supplements aren’t cure-alls for poor sleeping habits or stress. Make sure you check in with your doctor before starting on any supplements, and be sure you’re getting as much rest as possible. Happy sleeping!