Foods that are rich in magnesium help relax muscles and aid in inducing a sleepy state. High sources of magnesium include greens, leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, edamame, bananas, avocados, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Certain foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps produce serotonin and melatonin, the hormones that set our sleep-wake cycles. Foods containing tryptophan include:
- Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs. Try to avoid high-fat cheese and deep-fried chicken or fish.
- Whole grains such as barley, buckwheat, and other complex carbohydrates help convert tryptophan into melatonin and serotonin. Avoid simple carbohydrates such as pasta, breads made with flour, and sweets (cookies, cake, etc.).