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Food for Thought: Foods to help you get better sleep

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According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 30% of adults experience the symptoms of insomnia. While there are many contributing factors to insomnia - stress, travel or work schedules, poor sleeping habits - your diet can also contribute to sleepless nights.

While eating too much before bed can cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down, health experts say eating a small snack is OK. Here are a few foods that can help you get a better night's sleep, according to the Sleep Foundation:

1. Kiwi: Kiwifruit possess numerous vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamins C and E as well as potassium and folate. Some research has found that eating kiwi can improve sleep. In a study, people who ate two kiwis one hour before bedtime found that they fell asleep faster, slept more, and had better sleep quality.

2. Tart cherries and tart cherry juice: Several studies have found sleep benefits for people who drink tart cherry juice. In one study, people who drank two one-cup servings of tart cherry juice per day were found to have more total sleep time and higher sleep efficiency.

3. Fatty fish: A research study found that fatty fish may be a good food for better sleep. The study over a period of months found that people who ate salmon three times per week had better overall sleep as well as improved daytime functioning.

4. Nuts: Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews are often considered to be a good food for sleep. Though the exact amounts can vary, nuts contain melatonin as well as essential minerals like magnesium and zinc that are essential to a range of bodily processes.

5. Rice: A study of adults in Japan found that those who regularly ate rice reported better sleep than those who ate more bread or noodles. This study only identified an association and cannot demonstrate causality, but it supports prior research that showed that eating foods with a high glycemic index around four hours before bedtime helped with falling asleep.

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