The old myth that a glass full of milk will help you rest has thankfully been laid to rest due to the large amount of research against dairy as a health food these days. Considering that the myth is likely derived from the fact that milk contains calcium and amino acids like tryptophan that can help you sleep, the best option is to simply eat other foods that contain these nutrients. Magnesium is another amazing mineral aside from calcium that can help send you to sleep since it aids in relaxing the mind, which can send you off to sleep sooner.
So in order to go to sleep faster and easier, try out some of nature’s best plant-foods to send you to sleep instead of dairy choices that come with a host of health side effect. These plant-based sources are either rich in calcium, magnesium, Vitamin B6 (a natural calming agent), or trytophan (the amino acid found in turkey and dairy that makes you sleepy.)
1. Almond Milk
Fortified almond milk is a great non-dairy beverage to drink if you’re a fan of the old cow’s milk method. It’s especially refreshing over ice with a little stevia and some cinnamon. This helps to relax the mind, and contains a large dose of calcium and magnesium. Check the brand’s label to make sure it’s unsweetened so the added sugars don’t disrupt your blood sugar in the middle of the night. Or, if you’re not into store bought almond milk, feel free to keep some homemade on hand. About a cup should do it.
2. A Banana
One simple banana is an awesome source of magnesium, potassium (which reduces blood pressure), Vitamin B6, and tryptophan. Bananas are also a good source of fiber so they’ll help deal with that nagging midnight appetite if you happen to have one of those along with your bout of insomnia!
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds offer a large dose of calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. They’re also rich in B vitamins that can help tamed frayed nerves, and they contain all essential amino acids to aid in healthy nervous system as well. If you’re not into eating the seeds plain (which I don’t blame you for), then just stir some in some non-dairy milk, add a little sweetener of your choice if you need to, and perhaps a dash of cinnamon to taste. You can also keep some pre-made chia pudding on hand, which makes another great option for emergencies like insomnia or just a nagging appetite to munch.
4. One Ounce of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a wealth of magnesium, and it’s even been found to reduce high blood pressure, along with aid in relaxation. Keep your chocolate to dark chocolate, however, and avoid those with excess sugars or that include milk (many organic brands aren’t necessarily vegan.) Just don’t eat the whole bar or you might wake up with a belly ache the next morning!
5. An Apple and A Few Almonds
This is a great choice for a few reasons. Apples contain large amounts of Vitamin C that fights stress, along with fiber that keeps you full. They’re also a great source of potassium to reduce high blood pressure (that can sometimes keep you awake) and are a good source of natural sugars that digest slowly to balance out your insulin levels. Almonds pair well with apples since they’re a good source of fiber, protein and amino acids like tryptophan, B vitamins, and magnesium. Keep it to just a few however, since too much high-fat foods before bed can negatively affect your sleep.
Leafy greens are also a great plant-based source of dietary calcium and hemp seeds are a great source of magnesium. Try to incorporate more sleep-inducing foods at your dinner so you’ll naturally fall asleep faster. Chamomile or certain bedtime teas are also a great idea to try as well. You won’t only sleep like a baby with these bedtime eats and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and energized the next morning.
Do you have a favorite dairy-free bedtime snack?
Image Source: Coconut Vanilla Chia Pudding