(NaturalNews) Tough time falling asleep? According to the American Psychiatric Association, most people are unable to obtain proper levels of sleep, which impacts mental and physical health. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation says that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, one that affects almost 60 percent of people in the U.S.
Lack of sleep can take its toll on health by increasing the chances of workplace and drowsing-driving accidents, and it can even lead to conditions such as depression and obesity. In some cases, ongoing lack of sleep can make these health issues chronic problems.
At the core of this is the hormone serotonin. Associated with calm and sleepy feelings, serotonin is essential for achieving a good night's rest, and lack of it is often a key reason behind people's inability to sleep well, if at all.
The importance of tryptophan
To sleep better, it's important to eat foods that contain high levels of tryptophan. This amino acid can't be made by the body, so consumption of tryptophan-rich foods is essential. Once in the body and with easy access to the brain, it helps to make that vital hormone, serotonin.
The bottom line is that serotonin regulates mood and sleep cycles, and to do so, tryptophan is a must-have part of the process. So, too, is melatonin, which also helps regulate the body's sleep cycle.
Top sleep-promoting foods
Here are some of the top foods to eat to ensure a more restful sleep.
Most notably, nuts like hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews and almonds are good choices.
Black beans, kidney beans and split peas help promote better rest.
What's important about bananas is that they digest slowly in the body, which means that serotonin is released in the sleep cycle later. For that reason, bananas can help foster deeper sleep for a longer duration.
The key is to combine these foods with a carbohydrate-rich food, like beans with rice or whole grain toast, for example. Doing so balances the body's insulin and tryptophan balance so that the brain can function optimally.
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.