Seven Foods Every Mama Needs For Better Sleep

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Last month I shared some tips on how to eat for energy.  This month, I am switching gears and sharing some tips on how to eat for sleep.  

Full disclosure: There is NO food on this planet that will help you sleep through a newborn crying out to be fed, a toddler who fell climbing out of his crib, a preschooler who is screaming from night terrors, a young child who needs help going potty, an older child who just needs her mom, or a teenager trying to sneak in (or out) after curfew.  

But there are foods that can help you sleep better when you’re not being jolted awake by your kids.  

This article is for you if:

  • You toss and turn all night.  
  • You often jolt out of bed thinking you heard a child cry out.
  • You’re up all night thinking about what you didn’t get done today and still needs to be done tomorrow.
  • The person sleeping next to you is snoring really loud.
  • You are sharing a bed with your husband, 3 kids, and the dog.  
  • That coffee you had at 2:00 pm to get you through the afternoon is still working to get you through the night.   
  • You can’t help but think of all the problems in the world, especially the never-ending reports of school shootings.    

Foods to Help You Sleep Better

A night of peaceful, deep and quality sleep is a blessing that only the sleep deprived and insomniacs can truly appreciate. So pretty much every mom out there.   

To have not just one, but plenty of your nights filled with rest and sleep, try adding the following foods to your diet, especially if you find yourself tossing and turning in your bed at night instead of sleeping.

Chamomile

Chamomile tea is a popular sleep-inducing tea that helps eliminate stress and anxiety. Before you go to bed, take a moment to sip a warm cup of chamomile herbal tea to relax, unwind and de-stress.

You can also try chamomile essential oil. Try some in a diffuser, rub a drop on the back of your neck, or add a drop to your tea (be sure you have essential oils that are safe for consumption).

Pistachios

Pistachios are not only tasty, but they are a jackpot for sleep. They are jampacked with magnesium, protein, and vitamin B6, which have a major role in inducing sleep. Consuming a healthy amount of pistachios before going to bed will knock you out like nothing else. You can eat them raw or add them to a glass of warm milk. However, more than one ounce of pistachios will have a reverse effect on your body; eat in moderation to avoid exacerbating your sleep issues.

This is not an excuse to eat pistachio ice cream.  The processed sugars in ice cream will keep you up all night.  Instead, try adding some to banana “nice cream”  (see below).

Fruits

Fruits that contain fructose can promote sleep, so before going to bed, snack on some berries and fruits that are sweet in taste.  There is a new trend to fear fruits because of their sugar.  Just remember, fruits were made by Mother Nature and are perfectly healthy for you.  Processed sugar, on the other hand, is made in a factory and is NOT good for you.  

Tart Cherry Juice

This juice contains high levels of melatonin, which is responsible for inducing sleep in your body. It can improve the quality of your sleep by regulating your body’s sleep cycles.

A study conducted by Louisiana State University found that by insomniacs who drank tart cherry juice increased their sleep time by 90 minutes!

If the thought of tart cherry juice makes you squirm and pucker your face, try adding some cherries to a small smoothie or smoothie bowl for dessert.  

Bananas

This fruit is a powerhouse of magnesium and potassium, which serve as natural sleep aids for your body. If you are feeling wide awake late into the night, try a banana or two to get yourself to sleep. You can even whip yourself up a thick sugar-free banana shake before you go to bed.  Or take it a step further and make “nice cream” with frozen bananas, vanilla, and frozen berries.  Add the ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender for a sweet and healthy treat.  

Walnuts

Walnuts contain an amino acid called tryptophan that helps induce and enhance sleep. This amino acid is responsible for the production of melatonin and serotonin, which improve the quality of your sleep by regulating the sleep cycles.  Walnuts also contain melatonin, so they help in the production of melatonin, and they add a little more to help you fall asleep even faster.  

Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts from the store.  The processing of the nuts ruins their nutrients. Instead, buy them raw and roast them at home.  

Pumpkin Seeds

A cup of pumpkin seeds contains around 420 mg of magnesium, which is the daily recommendation from the National Health Institute.  Magnesium is also a sleep-inducing agent for your body.  If you cannot find pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds or sunflower seeds are great substitutions.

Try roasting some pumpkin seeds with your walnuts.  

What will YOU do to get some better sleep tonight?

The search for the elusive “good night’s sleep” can be frustrating and exhausting. Who has time for exhaustion when you’re already exhausted?!  Before you reach for an over-the-counter sleep aid, try some of the natural remedies to get your body on the right path to sound sleep!

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.

Thomas Dekker

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Shellie is an Occupational Therapist and Lactation Counselor turned Health Coach. She grew up in Youngstown and moved to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University. Columbus has been her home for the past 25+ years. She has 3 jobs, 1 husband, 3 kids, and 1 fur baby. When she’s not momming or working, she is researching all things related to nutrition and natural health. For that matter, she has an unhealthy relationship with her iPad and is not setting the best example for her kids. Her passion is to help busy moms transform their lifestyles so they can raise strong, healthy and happy families. She blogs about nutrition and natural health at Shelli Bolyard.