As Americans struggle with sleep, experts say to look to diet

Health News

NEW YORK, NY (CBS Newspath) – Millions of Americans have been struggling with disrupted or interrupted sleep during the pandemic. If you’re counting an ever-increasing number of sheep at night, you might want to look at your diet.

Yoga instructor Bethany Lyons has a lot on her plate. She launched her own company during the pandemic, teaching online classes daily. She says healthy snacking is a must. “I eat raw almonds, I eat roasted almonds, I eat salted, unsalted – any kind of almond that there is,” she says.

Those nuts may also be helping her sleep at night.

Nutrition expert Dr. Nicole Avena says there’s a reason people who snack on almonds, walnuts, and pistachios might toss and turn a little less at night. “They have high amounts of magnesium, which has been thought to help improve sleep,” she says.

Another sleep aid is tart cherry juice. According to Dr. Avena, “It contains a small amount of melatonin. And melatonin is a hormone that we have naturally in our bodies that rises right before we fall asleep.”

Michael Tanney says he drinks cherry juice a few times a week after dinner. “If I have it at night, I have no issues falling asleep, which is not always the case with other fruits or juices because of the sugar,” he says.

Turmeric, the key ingredient in “golden milk,” is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which are associated with good sleep.

Alcoholic drinks, which might make you feel sleepy at first, can disrupt your REM cycles.

Besides ditching alcohol, experts recommend cutting off caffeine after 4 p.m. and avoiding high-fat or heavy meals before bed.

Other lesser-known foods that may hurt your sleep are tomatoes, due to their high acidity content. Meat and cheese pizza are also bad because they contain higher levels of the amino acid “tyramine” which makes you feel alert.

Lyons also prioritizes exercise. She says those good habits help her rest a little easier.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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