I think it’s pretty safe to say that everything you put in your body has an effect on you, right? Some things have a more profound effect than others, of course (think a stick of chewing gum versus a cup of coffee), but in truth, so many different foods and ingredients really do have medicinal properties and benefits that can help you take care of yourself. For someone like me, who often has trouble sleeping, I personally like to keep in mind that there are certain ingredients that make you sleepy and calm, and can be added into various foods or recipes to make your bedtime routine that much more relaxing.
In fact, you really don’t even have to wait until bedtime to nourish your body with sleep-friendly ingredients. Some of these foods can easily be incorporated into a breakfast meal, your lunch literally whenever. The point is, if you’re mindful of what you eat throughout the day, you might just notice a difference in the way your body feels.
Below, a few doctors and nutritional specialists weigh in on the types of ingredients you can add to your meals that will help you relax and unwind when it’s time to go to sleep.
Boil Some Banana Peels For Tea
I know this one might sound a bit weird, but according to Pedram Shojai, a doctor of eastern medicine and founder of Well.org, bananas in general are a great food to eat when it comes to catching up on your shut-eye.
Of course, bananas are a pretty versatile food; you can eat them as they are, add them to yogurt, bake them into bread, or, if you really want to savor the sleep-friendly benefits, “boil banana peels into a tea for extra potency,” Shojai tells Elite Daily in an email. “They are filled with magnesium and potassium to calm the mind.”
Put Some Figs In Your Salad
Hey, no complaints here. Personally, I think figs are delicious, and according to Shojai, they’re filled with essential minerals that help you sleep, like magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Pack Your Trail Mix With Pistachios
Besides the fact that pistachios are a powerhouse food packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber, nutritional health counselor Sara Siskind says these bad boys also contain a significant amount of vitamin B6, which can help you feel sleepy. In fact, she tells Elite Daily over email, “a deficiency in B6 has been linked with lowered serotonin levels and poor sleep.”
So, pop those delicious nuts into anything from muffins, to trail mix, or eat ’em straight if you want.
Sweet Potatoes Are An Essential Addition
Try adding some sweet potatoes to your quinoa bowl, putting boiled sweet potatoes in your smoothie, or heck, treat yourself to some yummy sweet potato fries.
Add Almond Butter To Literally Anything
Personally, I like to add almond butter to pretty much anything and everything. “It’s a very versatile ingredient,” Alex Parren, a personal trainer and nutrition expert, tells Elite Daily in an email. “When looking for ingredients to help you sleep better, you should be looking for foods high in melatonin, and almonds, and therefore almond butter ticks that box.”
As for almonds in general, Parren says, they’re a source of serotonin, which can improve your mood and increase feelings of well-being. Seriously guys, almond butter makes everything better.
Put A Little NutMeg In Your Oatmeal
According to functional medicine specialist Nancy Guberti, nutmeg isn’t just a delicious spice; it’s apparently a natural sedative, too, thanks to something called myristicin, which is a natural compound in nutmeg that can actually have psychoactive effects when taken in much higher doses.
But don’t worry Guberti tells Elite Daily over email that you won’t be tripping anytime soon if you add a little nutmeg to your oatmeal or your yogurt. Rather, she says the myristicin in the spice will simply dial down your dopamine receptors, and as a result, it’ll make you feel nice and sleepy, just in time for bed.