By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D. , January 17, 2012 - 12:09pm
Some people have trouble falling asleep. Others can’t stay asleep. And then there are the people (um, me!) who have trouble turning life “off” and tucking into bed at a reasonable hour. (Get 3 simple tips to help you beat insomnia here. )
Whatever the reason, we’re not alone—more than 50 million Americans don’t get enough shut-eye. Yet the health benefits of a good night’s rest are countless: sleep helps keep you happy, your brain sharp, your immune system strong, your waistline trim, your skin looking youthful—and lowers your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Must-Read: 20 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep 
Here’s the good news: Adding certain foods to your diet may help to increase your odds of a successful slumber, as reported in EatingWell Magazine. (Though these foods won’t answer e-mails, clean your house or complete whatever to-do item is keeping you up late.) Here’s what you can eat for a better night’s sleep:
Fish—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. Other B6-rich foods include chickpeas, bananas and fortified cereals. Or get more B6 with these Salmon Cakes and more easy salmon recipes. 
Must-Read: 6 of the Healthiest Fish to Eat (6 to Avoid) 
Jasmine rice—When healthy sleepers ate carbohydrate-rich suppers of veggies and tomato sauce over rice, they fell asleep significantly faster at bedtime if the meal included high-glycemic-index (GI) jasmine rice rather than lower-GI long-grain rice, in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While the authors aren’t sure how it happened, they speculated that the greater amounts of insulin triggered by the high-GI meals increased the ratio of sleep-inducing tryptophan relative to other amino acids in the blood, allowing proportionately more to get into the brain.
Tart cherry juice—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.
Yogurt—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. Other calcium-rich foods to try: leafy green vegetables like kale and collards. Or try these delicious recipes packed with calcium-rich foods. 
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Whole grains—Bulgur, barley and other whole grains are rich in magnesium—and consuming too little magnesium may make it harder to stay asleep, reported the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
Related: 7 Soothing Foods and Calming Scents to Help You Relax 
What, if any, foods help you get a good night’s rest? Tell us what you think below.