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5 recipes to help you sleep

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A few weeks ago I shared a recipe for my favorite sleepy time smoothie, aptly named because it contains tart cherry juice, which is an excellent natural, and non-addictive, sleep aid.

I was surprised at how much attention that post received. It looks like a lot of my readers, like a lot of other people, have trouble sleeping. So I decided to make this post all about recipes that may help you sleep better naturally. Just click on each blue recipe headline for details.

Let’s start with another popular recipe post…

Hummus — the perfect pulse snack

Hummus with Pita ChipsHummus really is the perfect snack, and the fact that it is made with a heart-healthy pulse (chick peas) is just one of the things that can make you feel good about eating it anytime. But because chick peas are rich in vitamin B6, you can feel assured that eating it in the evening won’t keep you awake.

That’s because vitamin B6 helps boost your body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

But to further increase my recipe’s sleepy time effects, make one change: replace the jalapeno pepper with handful of basil. Hot and spicy foods can keep you awake, while basil is recognized in Western medicine as a mild sedative.

Honey-baked peanut butter banana

Honey BananasA banana is the first thing I eat when I wake up, and often the last thing I eat at night. But at night I add peanut butter… and here’s why:

Bananas are a good source of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps your brain communicate better with your body. And that includes telling it to go to sleep. Bananas are also rich in tryptophan — the amino acid you may be familiar with for making you sleepy after eating turkey.

In comes peanut butter, bringing with it magnesium. Magnesium can help relax both your muscles and your central nervous system. My recipe calls for cinnamon, and its sleepy time effects work in much the same way, promoting relaxation and soothing stress.

The amount of honey used in my honey-baked peanut butter banana recipe is so small, it shouldn’t cause you any stimulation that would affect your ability to sleep (and may actually help as you’ll read below). But if you want to delete it altogether, give it a go.

Slowcooker oatmeal with bananas and nuts

Oats contain more dietary fiber than any other grain. And they also boost heart health.Even though oatmeal is one of our favorite breakfast foods, maybe we have been eating it at the wrong time of day all along…

For starters oats are rich in melatonin. Secondly, grains (like oatmeal) trigger insulin production. That raises your blood sugar naturally and that makes you feel sleepy.  Of course blood sugar spikes are not something I would promote in excess, but if you have healthy blood sugar, a little oatmeal before bedtime should be fine.

Heart-healthy walnuts are delicious in this recipe. A University of Texas researcher found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, as well as tryptophan.

You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t call for any additional sugar. It is sweetened with sleep-promoting bananas. Instead of preparing it in your slowcooker at night for the next day’s breakfast, set it to start cooking in the morning to have as an evening snack.

Spicy toasted almonds

Almonds are a great snack to help you keep inches off your waistline.When I first started making this snack, I considered it party food. But now that I know almonds contain tryptophan and magnesium, I like to munch on them in the evening. I haven’t noticed that the chili powder, used in my recipe link above, affects my sleep adversely. If you find it does yours, just cut it down to half a tablespoon. Hot spices can work against sleep.

Festive fall parfait

Dairy foods also contain sleep-inducing tryptophan. They also contain calcium which helps reduce stress by stabilizing the nerve fibers in your brain. No wonder warm milk is a popular sleep remedy. But it’s not your only dairy option…

Festive Fall parfaitIn fact, hot yogurt is a “thing” now… and some say eating it warm actually increases nutrient absorption and is better for digestion.

You can heat in the microwave in 10 second intervals, up to a minute or till you reach your desired temperature. Remember to stir in between heating intervals to distribute the heat evenly. I don’t usually heat mine for more than 30 seconds to get it just right. If you overdo it, you’ll kill the probiotic bacteria, and you don’t want to skimp out of those benefits.

Once heated just follow the directions in the recipe link above.

Here’s to sweet dreams…

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