10 foods that could help you fall asleep faster

Sleep is so important for college students, yet it's so underrated. Even when you try to go to bed at a reasonable hour, your mind suddenly has a million thoughts that it wants to go through and it can be hard to actually fall asleep. Have no worries though, because one solution to this problem comes down to what you eat before you sleep. You probably already know that having caffeine late at night can keep you awake, and that sometimes a glass of wine (or two, or three) can make you sleepy, but there are actually some foods that can help you fall asleep faster. 

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10 foods that can help you fall asleep faster

1.  Chamomile Tea 

Tea is probably the food equivalent of relaxation, and for good reason. The tea that is most associated with rest and relaxation is chamomile tea. Drinking this can increase glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles, acting as a sedative.  

2. Chickpeas 

Your excuse to have hummus as your midnight cravings has some truth to it if you're having a hard time going to sleep. Chickpeas actually have the same chemical as turkey does, tryptophan, which can help you rest when your body converts it to B vitamin, which helps create serotonin. Serotonin is associated with your sleep/melatonin levels

3. Honey 

Apparently there's a natural sugar found in honey that raises insulin, but also allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily. A bonus tip: Combine honey and chamomile tea for an even better drink to sip on before bed. And if you're feeling under the weather, you can add lemon juice or ginger to the mix to help fight off your cold. 

4. Cherries

One of the many fruits on this list that can help you fall asleep faster is cherries. This is one of the fruits that actually boosts melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. Be aware that when we're talking about cherries, it's not the sweet or maraschino cherries, but the tart ones that do the trick. 

5. Bananas 

Personally, I'm not really surprised about this, because sometimes when I have a banana, I get a little tired. Weird, right? The reason this happens is because it contains potassium and magnesium, which are muscle relaxants. It also contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan, which changes to 5-HTP that then converts to serotonin, which can help you fall asleep. 

6. Kale

The vegetable that many people refer to as a "superfood" is full of calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan to produce melatonin. Others in the green, leafy vegetable category that can help you fall asleep faster are also spinach and mustard greens. 

7. Almonds and other nuts 

This is a great, crunchy snack to munch on when a craving hits around midnight, but you also have to wake up early and get enough sleep. Almonds are specifically great because they have magnesium, which is shown to improve sleep quality. However, there's also other nuts in general, like walnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, etc. that you can choose from if you don't like almonds. 

8. Dark Chocolate 

Go ahead, indulge in that dark chocolate dessert. It's not just one of the best things in dessert, but it's actually good for you (as long you don't eat it by the barrel). Specifically, it's good for sleep because it's rich in magnesium, which helps cells to cope in the body's circadian rhythm/internal clock

#SpoonTip: Make these dark chocolate avocado truffles for dessert post-dinner. It's so easy to make, and pretty healthy, too.

9. Sweet potato 

This diverse root vegetable, which serves as an alternative to regular fries or as a replacement for the bread in breakfast toast, can help you doze off because it's a good source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. However, the mineral that really accounts for its sleeping properties is potassium. Additionally, sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, which aids in sleep, too.

10. Dairy

This is great news for dairy lovers (because, cheese). You've probably heard that a warm glass of milk can put you to sleep if you're not tired, and that's actually somewhat true. It's not just milk though; it's any dairy product, like cheese and yogurt. So you can whip out the cheese and crackers or yogurt before you go to bed. There's science behind this in that the calcium in dairy products helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to help make melatonin

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A lot of these foods are great sleeping aids because they help the body increase melatonin, the hormone that signals the body that it's time go to bed. Even if you happen to not like one of these things on the list (looking at kale specifically), you don't have to eat them all to get a good night's rest. But if you still have trouble sleeping, you should talk to your doctor, or you can always try counting sheep. 

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