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Exercises That May Improve Your Zzz's

Just like some foods can give you a huge boost of energy, others can make you feel pleasantly sleepy, meaning they’re perfect for eating with dinner or as an evening snack. These are five things—three foods and two drinks—that may improve your zzz’s.

  1. Whole grain crackers: You’ve probably heard of the sleep-inducing amino acid called tryptophan. It’s in foods like cheese and turkey (that’s why it’s often credited as the reason that Thanksgiving dinner is usually followed by a nap). But for the tryptophan to go to work, you also need complex carbohydrates. Eating whole grains like those in Kashi Original 7 Grain Crackers make the tryptophan in your body more available to your brain, boosting your drowsiness. But remember: Not all carbs are created equal. Simple or refined carbs like sugary pastries, white bread, and white rice may actually reduce serotonin levels and hurt sleep.
  2. A glass of tart cherry juice: This beverage may help you sleep longer if you drink eight ounces twice a day. The juice is packed with melatonin (tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of it), which may help regulate your sleep. While bottled juice like Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice is good all year long, you can also skip the juice and eat fresh tart cherries in the summer instead.
  3. A handful of walnuts: Nuts like Happy Belly California Walnuts are full of both tryptophan and melatonin. Eating them can boost how much of the hormone is in your blood, and that may lead to better sleep.
  4. A spoonful of almond butter: Spreads made from pureed almonds, like Barney Butter Bare Almond Butter, are a good source of magnesium. Having low magnesium levels puts you at a higher risk for insomnia, so it’s important to get enough of it.
  5. A mug of chamomile tea: A beverage made from seeping chamomile leaves, like Celestial Seasonings Chamomile Herbal Tea, can help reduce anxiety and stress. That soothing effect makes it perfect for quieting your mind and setting you up for a good night’s sleep. There’s also the extra bonus that the act of drinking the hot beverage is relaxing in its own right.