Everyone wants a good night’s sleep, but for many of us, this goal is frustratingly elusive and we end up turning to sleeping pills. But a top sleep specialist tells Newsmax Health that the solution to sleep problems is often as close as your kitchen cupboard.
Many dietitians recommend that people refrain from eating in the hours before bedtime because bedtime gorging can cause weight gain. On the other hand, hunger pangs can lead to insomnia. The trick is to eat the right
foods, says Ashwin Mehta, M.D., medical director of Integrative Medicine at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami.
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Here are Dr. Mehta’s top bedtime snacks to help you rest:
1. Apple. An apple is a very nutritiously dense food that is rich in soluble fiber, which expands in your digestive system, so eating an apple makes you feel full and provides sweetness without raising blood sugar levels too high.
2. Pumpkin seeds. Most modern diets are very low in foods that contain magnesium. This mineral is a key to restful sleep, says Dr. Mehta. If you’re deficient, your sleep quality will suffer. Besides pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and edamame are also high in magnesium.
3. Steel-cut oatmeal. Foods that contain bran — including oatmeal, rice, and wheat bran — are very high in magnesium. Eating a small bowl, possibly sweetened with a little fruit, makes an excellent evening snack. Oatmeal is comprised of soluble fiber that can keep your belly feeling full throughout the night. Choose the “steel-cut” varieties or those labeled “Irish oats,” which are whole grain.
4. Chamomile tea. While technically not a food, chamomile tea is a tried-and-true sleep aid. If you don’t like chamomile, then lemon grass or lemon balm teas are good choices as well.
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