If you’re reading this while rubbing your eyes with coffee in hand, you’re not alone. The average American is sleep deprived—logging around 6.8 hours a night, with 40 percent getting under six hours.1
So how exactly does your body function when it’s low on sleep? Studies have found the body reacts to sleep deprivation by adjusting hormone levels, such as increasing the “stress hormone” cortisol2, which tells the body to conserve energy, slowing digestion.3 Lack of sleep can even reduce the effectiveness of your morning workout.4 Simply put, when you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re putting your body and mind under stress.5
Research has also shown that sleep deprivation can lead to both psychological and metabolic causes of weight gain.6 Sleepy people not only tend to eat more, and more of the high-calorie foods that can provide comfort, but also make poorer decisions generally, like skimping on exercise.7
So to help you get some quality Z’s tonight, we’ve compiled the seven best foods for sleep. They’re also all great for weight loss too—you can even find some of them in meals from Jenny Craig or on our Fresh & Free Additions list. Sweet dreams!
1. Almonds: These tasty nuts are high in magnesium and calcium8, which can help reduce the stress chemicals that keep us awake. The protein in almonds can also make you feel full, helping you avoid late-night hunger.
2. Chamomile tea: Long used as a sleep aid, this caffeine-free, herbal tea contains a compound called apigenin, which is thought to react in the brain similarly to pharmaceutical sedatives.9
3. Oatmeal: In addition to helping maintain blood-sugar levels, oatmeal contains both B vitamins and melatonin, both known to improve sleep. Breakfast for dinner, anyone?10
4. Popcorn: This crunchy snack provides a light dose of carbs that may increase sleep hormones, and dietary fiber to aid digestion, so keep popcorn in mind as a sleep helper.11 Jenny Craig’s White Cheddar Popcorn and Kettle Corn are both excellent choices for a satisfying and healthy post-dinner treat.
5. Potatoes: Whether you’re eating a white or red potato, your slumber can benefit from the complex carbs, which can help regulate the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes sleep.12
6. Rice: This is another food that comes in a variety of forms, but brown and wild rice often contain more nutrients than their white counterpart.13 Regardless of which kind you eat, they can all accelerate sleep.14
7. Turkey: It’s actually a myth that the tryptophan in turkey helps you sleep, as the dose in turkey is relatively low, but when eaten alongside carbohydrates, together, they can boost levels of serotonin, giving you that sleepy feeling.15
Getting the right amount of sleep and having good quality sleep is an essential part of being and staying well. We hope this list of best foods for sleep helps you get a better night’s sleep.
Want to learn more about how what you eat as well as when you eat can impact your sleep quality? Book your free appointment with a Jenny Craig consultant to talk through the benefits of following your natural circadian rhythm with Max Up!