As a vegan, you always have to be keen on your food choices to ensure you eat only foods that are plant-based. But, if you are also an insomniac, you might be tempted to go for a warm cup of milk, or any other animal-based source of tryptophan.
However, you do not have to change your diet just to get some shut-eye. There are more than enough kinds of vegan foods that you can eat for a better night’s sleep.
Here are some of these natural sleep aids for a vegan.
#1 Kales and Spinach
Kales, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables always should be part of your meals since they contain plenty of minerals and nutrients. As a vegan, chances are you already eat them a lot, but if you do not, it is a good idea to make them part of your dinner because they have sleep-promoting compounds. Spinach, kale, and most other leafy vegetables are a rich source of calcium, which is an essential mineral that helps in melatonin production. Also, research shows that folate deficiency can lead to insomnia, but eating these vegetables will ensure that you get enough sleep.
Bananas are affordable, and one of the most abundant fruits, and so you have no reason not to eat enough of them. Bananas are an important part of the vegetarian diet because they are also rich in essential minerals. Eating one or two bananas before bed will help you fall asleep quickly, since they have a large amount of muscle-relaxants, such as potassium and magnesium. The carbs in bananas also will make you feel sleepy, and so you should make a habit of eating them after dinner, or before you go under the sheets.
#3 Jasmine Rice
Although rice always will be part of most people’s dinner, jasmine rice is the way to go if you want to get a better night’s sleep. Jasmine rice’s high glycemic index means it always will leave you feeling sleepy. And so a small serving of jasmine rice at dinnertime might be all a vegetarian needs for perfect sleep. Also, most people will find it tastier than most other types of rice, and so you can be sure of enjoying your dinner.
When you mention oatmeal, many people will think about breakfast because it is their favorite morning cereal. But there is much more to this tasty food than breakfast because you also can have it as a bedtime snack.
Oatmeal contains a lot of carbohydrates that help in the release of serotonin and melatonin, which induce sleep. Serotonin is a feel-good hormone that will calm your body and mind, and also keep anxiety in check, which will help you sleep better. And since the complex carbohydrates in oatmeal will take a long time to digest, you will not have to worry about spikes in your blood sugar when sleeping. Adding some apple slices to the oatmeal will make it even tastier.
#5 Peanuts/Peanut Butter
Peanuts are high in calories and fats, which make them perfect for vegetarians because they can help bridge the gap resulting from a lack of meat and animal products. However, apart from being a perfect dietary complement, peanuts or peanut butter also can help you with sleep. Peanuts contain a significant amount of niacin, which is a vitamin that helps in the production and release of serotonin. However, just like with any other source of fat and protein, you should eat peanuts in moderation, especially if you are watching your weight.
Cherries are another perfect food when it comes to better sleep, because they are one of the few natural sources of the sleep-regulating and -inducing hormone melatonin. A bowl of cherries before bed will make it easy for you to fall asleep. Cherry tart juice is also an excellent alternative when you feel like drinking something before bed.
Food still can help you get a good night’s sleep, even if you are a vegetarian. It’s a good idea to make a meal plan that includes the foods above, either at dinner or as a late night snack. But, for a long-term solution to your sleep problems, you should combine these foods with other things, such as exercising, avoiding alcohol before bed and quitting smoking.