Fact: Women who report better sleep were 33 percent more likely to hit their weight-loss goals, according to a study published in the journal Obesity. Whether you want to doze your way slim, or you just want to wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning, check out these foods that help you sleep.
Recipe to Try: Green Fruit Salad
This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour, found research from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
Recipe to Try: South of the Border Buddha Bowl
Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body's sleep-wake cycle. Adults who ate two or more soy servings a day slept longer and reported the best-quality sleep, according to a 2015 Nutrition Journal study.
Recipe to Try: Blueberry Almond Chia Pudding
Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
Recipe to Try: Roast Salmon with Chimmichurri Sauce
Most fish—and especially salmon, halibut and tuna—boast vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
In a small study, melatonin-rich tart cherry juice was shown to aid sleep. When adults with chronic insomnia drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day they experienced some relief in the severity of their insomnia.
Recipe to Try: Ricotta & Yogurt Parfait
Dairy products like yogurt and milk boast healthy doses of calcium—and there's research that suggests being calcium-deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.
Recipe to Try: Pistachio-Crusted Chicken with Warm Barley Salad
Bulgur, barley and other whole grains are rick in magnesium—and consuming too little magnesium may make it harder to stay asleep, reported the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
Recipe to Try: Sauteed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter
Dairy products are well-known calcium-rich foods. But green leafy vegetables, such as kale and collards, also boast healthy doses of calcium. And research suggests that being calcium deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.
Recipe to Try: Almond Butter & Banana Protein Smoothie
Bananas, well-known for being rich in potassium, are also a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Some original reporting by Brierley Wright, M.S, R.D.