Most Americans are chronically sleep-deprived which, accordingly to the latest research, skyrockets our likelihood of developing insulin resistance, obesity and heart disease. While many people are aware that poor food and beverage choices, such as too much processed sugary food and too much caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, can lead to poor quality sleep, they don’t realize that smart food choices can actually help us sleep better so our bodies can fight off illness and repair themselves.

Here are 5 foods that can help you get better sleep:

  1. Chicken – surprise! That’s right. Chicken breasts are even higher in tryptophan than turkey. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid your body needs in order to create serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate (among other things) mood and sleep. Tryptophan is also found in high amounts in other animal proteins.
  2. Almond butter or other nut butter – If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try a snack of almond butter on celery sticks or whole grain crackers before you go to bed. It’s a good source of healthy fat that will help keep your blood sugar stable. You will feel fuller longer, which will help you sleep through the night.
  3. Beans – kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans—you get the idea. Consuming beans at dinner provides fiber to help keep your blood sugar stable, helping your sleep hormones work more efficiently, so you can get more restful sleep at night.
  4. Swiss chard –it’s high in calcium which helps body generate melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your body’s sleep cycle.
  5. Broccoli – is a good source of magnesium, a natural muscle relaxer. This helps prevent the foot and leg cramps many people experience at night.

Better sleep starts with what you eat. Include these five foods in your meal plan and take a big step toward better quality sleep.

You will love the way you feel!