Get a Better Night's Sleep: Foods that Fight Insomnia

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Scientists and doctors all around the world agree that sleep is one of the major keys to remaining healthy as we age. Not only can lack of sleep increase your chance of mental and physical health issues, but sleep deprivation has been proven to be a leading cause of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and dementia.

It’s no surprise that as we age, our bodies experience subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, changes. Sleep patterns are naturally fragile habits that change frequently depending on one's age, stress levels, medications, physical activity, and mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. With such a large percentage of seniors (approximately 44%) suffering from some form of insomnia, it is important to find ways to increase the amount of sleep you get every night. Luckily, there are foods that you can add to your diet that can help increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, serotonin, and melatonin in your body, all of which are crucial to getting a good night's sleep.

Eat Foods Containing Healthy Fats

Many of us have heard that avoiding fatty foods is a necessary diet adjustment, and though that’s true, not all fatty foods are bad for you. In fact, many foods that contain good fats are essential for a healthy body and mind. There is a wide variety of foods that contain healthy fats, such as peanut butter and avocados. If you’re looking for a simpler alternative, nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, and walnuts contain protein and magnesium, which help your body and muscles relax. Always be aware of what you’re eating and what is in your food. Bad fats (such as trans fats and saturated fats) will negatively impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Eat More Fruit

Fruits and vegetables are crucial for a healthy diet, but eating certain fruits before bed has been proven to have astonishing effects. Fruits such as cherries contain a large amount of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate bodily functions such as sleep. Fruits like peaches, apples, and apricots are rich with magnesium, causing them to be a great before-bed snack that will help you get a good night’s sleep.

The best fruit you can eat, however, is a banana. Rich in potassium and magnesium, bananas also contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which later becomes serotonin and melatonin in your body. Adding these fruits into your nighttime routine will not only give you a delicious and sweet snack, but it will also help you sleep better. What else could you ask for?

Eat More Protein Enriched Snacks

Proteins contain a lot of tryptophan, which makes foods high in lean proteins the ideal snack before bedtime. Little bits of food, such as cheese on crackers or an egg on whole-grain toast is great for helping your body produce more melatonin and serotonin. Some peanut butter on a banana or a rice cake with some turkey are a couple of other options to choose from. These snacks are not only pleasing (and tasty), but they are also a healthy alternative to sleeping pills.

Add More Carbohydrates to Your Diet

You have probably experienced eating a lot of carbs and feeling extremely sluggish and tired afterwards. This is exactly why complex carbs are great for those who suffer from insomnia. Complex carbs help your body fall asleep by increasing your levels of tryptophan. This is incredibly important for seniors especially, as aging often causes a reduction in the amount of tryptophan, melatonin, and serotonin that's naturally produced.

So, what carbs are good carbs? Foods like popcorn, jasmine rice, whole-grain cereal, whole-grain crackers, and oatmeal are fantastic snacks that will help improve your body's sleep function. If you’re looking for a more satisfying and sweeter snack, honey on a mashed sweet potato is a great source of complex carbs!

Drink Hot/Warm Beverages Before Bed

Warm beverages have been used by people all around the world as remedies for insomnia for decades, maybe even centuries. Warm beverages are relaxing, inducing a calm state in which falling asleep becomes a little bit easier. Warm milk with some honey and decaffeinated teas such as chamomile and peppermint are great warm drinks that will soothe you and help you fall asleep.

But, stay away from caffeinated drinks. Make sure what you are drinking before bed is caffeine-free, otherwise you might not be able to sleep at all.

Visit the Marshes' Savannah Senior Living Housing Community

At the Marshes of Skidaway Island, you can enjoy a premium quality of life at an affordable price. Because our community offers so much to see and do, you'll be sure to get a wonderful night's sleep each and every night. At The Marshes, we specialize in helping our members live low-stress, healthy and active lifestyles that are enriched with friends, family, and activities.

To learn more about The Marshes of Skidaway Island or to schedule a visit to our luxurious Savannah senior living housing community, please call us today at 800-889-6238.