It’s 12 AM and Netflix is calling your name. What’s one more hour…right? Turns out, it could mean the difference between a day of eating right or a day of eating—well—anything in sight. Get your pajamas ready. According to a recent study, 62% of adults who got an extra 96 minutes of sleep each night reported that their daytime junk food cravings decreased by a whopping 50%. Why? As it turns out, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on the metabolism—because staying awake at night requires more energy than sleeping, your body overcompensates the next day by releasing “hunger” hormones that send your appetite into overdrive. And if you’ve ever been in a meeting stocked with doughnuts after a late night, you’ve probably learned that your body isn’t hungry for fruits and vegetables.
Okay, so get more sleep. Easier said than done, right? I know what you’re thinking—Jackie, with a day packed with activities, I can barely finish everything on one and a half hours of sleep alone! But don’t freak out just yet. It turns out that focusing on sleep has a profound effect on a healthy lifestyle, providing a 32% increase in productivity and focus, and an energy boost for higher fitness performance.
If you’re like me, sometimes the hardest part of getting enough sleep is being able to wind down from a busy day. But when it comes to bedtime, fruits and vegetables are at the rescue! For a quicker, restful night of Z’s, skip counting sheep and start counting on these 5 fruits and vegetables to help you sleep.
- Kale: 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. Load up on this trendy veggie before bed and your body will be thanking you in the morning.
- Cherries: Cherries are one of the only natural sources of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. Have a handful an hour before bedtime; if fresh ones aren’t in season, go for cherry juice or the dried variety.
- Bananas: Bananas are chockfull of potassium and magnesium, which both help to relax your muscles to give you a peaceful night’s sleep. Plus, they contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, which ultimately turns into serotonin and melatonin in the brain. Both promote relaxation and sleepiness.
- Tomatoes: Grown on the vine, tomatoes are a natural source of melatonin, a chemical produced by the body during sleep. Although it is recommended to get fresh sources, tomatoes can be found in sauces, paste, and even in ketchup. They are also full of antioxidants!
- Passion Fruit: If anxiety’s what’s keeping you up, you’ll be passionate about passion fruit. Passion fruit contains several medicinal alkaloids, including the sedative compound Harman, which has traditionally been used to treat anxiety, insomnia and restlessness.
Now that you’re armed with healthy sleep aids, what fruits and vegetables will you eat for a better night’s sleep? Let us know below.