Friday, January 30, 2009

10 Foods That Help You Fall Asleep

If it takes you more than 15 minutes to fall asleep at night, quicken your trip to dreamland by changing what you eat in the evening. It can make the difference between staring at the ceiling and sleeping like a baby. For years, the top food on the snooze list was turkey, because it contains sleep-inducing tryptophan (credited with all those Thanksgiving naps). But researchers have done an about-face and nixed this connection. Why? Turkey, like most foods, just doesn't contain enough tryptophan to put you to sleep, explains Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of The Food & Mood Cookbook: Recipes for Eating Well and Feeling Your Best . Instead, think light but high-carbohydrate snacks. Carbs boost levels of the brain's sleep chemical serotonin without overloading your digestive system. If you like, wash them down with something warm and soothing, such as a cup of herbal tea (chamomile, lemon balm, or valerian) or warm milk. 10 Top Sleep Boosters Nibble on one of these 10 high-carb calmers an hour before bedtime -- you'll be yawning in no time. 1. Half of a whole-wheat English muffin or raisin bagel drizzled with honey 2. Two cups of air-popped popcorn 3. A small slice of angel food cake topped with berries 4. A frozen whole-wheat waffle, toasted, with maple syrup 5. Half a cup of pretzels 6. Fresh strawberries dunked in a little fat-free chocolate syrup 7. Half a cup of pasta topped with marinara sauce 8. A 4-ounce baked potato topped with salsa 9. A handful of oyster crackers and a piece of fruit 10. Canned mandarin oranges sprinkled with crystallized ginger The benefits of sleep go well beyond good moods and lots of energy. Getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night can make your RealAge as much as 3 years younger.

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