Some people have problems falling asleep. Others have absolutely no problem closing their eyes at night, but they struggle to keep them closed and end up waking up in the early hours with their minds running. You’re not alone – many of us go through a similar situation. You blame your lack of sleep on the stress that has been taking over your thoughts, but did you ever stop and think that it may actually have to do with the meal that you are consuming before you go to bed? There are certain foods out there that have an impact on the way you sleep at night, and we have given you some great dinner ideas for the next time those bags under your eyes become too unbearable.
Fettuccine with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese
The key ingredient in this dish is kale. Kale and other leafy vegetables give your body the healthy dose of calcium that it needs. Sure, dairy products also contain calcium but some of them can be heavy while greens are not. Not having enough calcium in your body when you go to sleep at night can lead to a restless evening.
Get the recipe from A Cup of Jo.
Herb Butter Salmon and Asparagus
Fish, especially salmon, are loaded with vitamin B6, the vitamin that is needed by your body to make melatonin. Melatonin is essential in order to sleep because it is a hormone that is triggered by darkness to help you fall asleep at night. Other fish that have plenty of the vitamin are tuna and halibut.
Get the recipe from Creme de la Crumb.
Yellow Jasmine Rice
Eating any type of grain, like rice or bulgur, before bed helps you fall asleep, but studies have shown that eating jasmine rice, specifically, before you close your eyes at night helps you shut your eyes faster. This is because jasmine rice contains a high-glycemic index, whereas other grains have lower-glycemic indexes. High-GI foods have much more insulin, which travels to the brain and triggers you to feel tired.
Get the recipe from Recipe by Budget Byte$.
Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese
Like the kale recipe, dairy products also give your body the right amount of calcium it needs. However, you have to be careful with what kinds of dairy products you are ingesting before you crawl into bed. Yogurt and milk are great to incorporate into your dinner meal because they are not as heavy. However, take it easy on the ice cream!
Get the recipe from Cooking Ala Mel.
(Almost) Classic Chickpea Vegan Meatloaf
This funky, vegan spin on a traditional dish is filled with chickpeas, which, like fish, help make melatonin, triggering you to fall asleep faster at night and stay asleep.
Get the recipe from Connoisseurus Veg.
Southwest Turkey, Vegetable and Rice Skillet
Everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving know this. Turkey contains a chemical called tryptophan, which helps people fall asleep (hence why everyone ends up napping after Thanksgiving dinner). This meal has both turkey and rice (mentioned above), so that you are twice as likely to get the amount of sleep you want AND need.
Get the recipe from Recipe Runner
Chicken, Broccoli, and Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Dinner
Sweet potatoes are the key to an insomniac’s happiness. They contain carbs, which help push sleep in the right direction, and potassium, which relaxes your body and prepares you for the night ahead.
Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.
One Pot Spinach Chicken Pasta
Last but not least, this leafy vegetable has got a long track record of helping people sleep. Being a source of tryptophan, it also has nutrients in it like folate, vitamins B6 and C, and magnesium, which help produce both serotonin and melatonin throughout your body. Spanish also has glutamine, which eliminates toxins that can cause you to have many restless nights.
Get the recipe from Chef in Training.