Getting enough sleep, just like sex, has been proven to extend your life. Less than six hours of sleep a night increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and viral infections. Getting six and a half to seven and a half hours can make your RealAge up to three years younger.
Humans die faster when they go without sleep than when they go without food. Fortunately, food may hold the solution to getting the ZZZs you need. A couple of hours before bedtime, curl up with one of these snacks. All of them get your brain to release sleep-friendly chemicals that will help you nod off like a baby.
1. Almonds. A handful contains muscle-relaxing magnesium and sleep-inducing tryptophan, which increases the brain’s level of feel-good serotonin.
2. Bananas. Beneath the peel is a trifecta of soothers: not only serotonin and magnesium but also melatonin, your body’s natural sleep regulator.
3. Skim milk. Yep, Mom was right. A nice warm glassful will help you snooze. Could be the mild sedating effect of milk’s tryptophan, or its calcium, which helps your brain use tryptophan. Or maybe it’s just calming thoughts of mother.
4. Oatmeal. Oats are rich in sleep-regulating melatonin. If you drizzle just a little honey on top, it tells your brain to turn off orexin, a neurotransmitter linked to alertness.
5. Whole-wheat bread: A slice of toast dotted with banana slices releases insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it changes into serotonin and whispers, “Sweet dreams.”
The YOU Docs — Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz