Top
The Body

A Cornucopia for Sleep: Figs, Tofu, and ZZZs

Getty/MillefloreImages

Include these foods in your dinner banquet, and you'll find that your winter's rest is a little bit sweeter.

Ah, Thanksgiving and the accompanying post-feast comatose. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which the body uses to make the neurotransmitter serotonin, known for its role in sleep-promotion. But is turkey given too much credit? What other foods commonly found on the celebratory table can aid in catching some extra zzzs?

  • Figs. Commonly found in stuffing and salad, these fruits are high in magnesium, an important element that aids in relaxation, and can promote deep sleep. They also are high in fiber, which can help stabilize blood sugar, which, when out of balance, can cause sleep disruption.
  • Sweet Potatoes. Occasionally found covered in mini marshmallows, these tubers are also high in fiber, and packed full of magnesium and zinc, which work together to produce melatonin. The carbohydrates also contribute to the production of serotonin.
  • Tofu. If you are choosing Tofurky over turkey this year, you could actually be helping your sleep. Interesting research shows that daily intake of the compound isoflavone, which is found in tofu, leads to better quality sleep.
  • Kale. High in calcium, this cruciferous vegetable is a rich source of calcium, which has been shown to make it easier to both fall asleep and have more restorative sleep.
  • Walnuts. Often found in salads and stuffing, this nut is high in melatonin, which plays a pivotal role in circadian rhythm and sleep quality.
  • Dark Chocolate. Do you really need any more reasons to eat dark chocolate? It contains high levels of magnesium, which has been shown to be a key component in maintaining circadian rhythms in the body. You have to know yourself though, some people find they don’t sleep well after eating dark chocolate. “Sorry” is really the only reasonable response there.

Include these sleep-inducing powerhouse foods at your next meal, and you might just find that you’re waltzing your way to an early bedtime.

Keep reading, “Tell the Real Story of Thanksgiving with Indigenous Food.”