If you're like the average American, adequate sleep isn't at the top of your to-do list. Unfortunately, it increases your risk of many health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, lapse of memory, psychiatric illness, substance abuse, obesity, and impairment of your everyday motor skills, such as driving. Your schedule may be jam-packed keeping you up until all hours of the night, but is what you're doing really worth your health? Exercise your time-management skills to give yourself more time to snooze, and pack your diet with the following five vegan foods that will help you get to sleep.5 Vegan foods that help you sleep1. Cherries
Melatonin is a sleep hormone that your body naturally produces, but cherries also contain a small amount of this snooze-inducing substance. Toss dried cherries into your evening snack mix, drink a glass of 100 percent cherry juice, or nibble fresh cherries when they are in season.>>Try this Vegan Cherry Sauce on a slice of whole grain toast 2. Bananas
Bananas are a natural sleeping aid in that they also contain melatonin as well as tryptophan to help you fall asleep. The melatonin sends signals to your brain that it's time for the body to shut down, while the trytophan converts to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that induces relaxation. Plus, these creamy-fleshed fruits contain magnesium, which is a known muscle relaxer that can reduce physical tension and stress that may inhibit sound sleep.>>Mmmm, Vegan Banana Bread 3. Oatmeal
Oatmeal may be a popular morning food, but this healthy vegan meal naturally contains small amounts of melatonin, and can help regulate your sleep and improve your sleep efficiency. For an extra sleepy dose of melatonin, make your oatmeal with cherries and bananas. Eaten at night, the warmth of a steamy bowl of oatmeal can also relax your body and help you slip into sleep.>>Stir up this Vegan Apple Oatmeal 4. Walnuts
Nuts are a quality source of the sleepy-time hormone melatonin. Walnuts are also high in healthy fats, which gives them double duty health benefits. A handful of nuts and dried cherries may be your nighttime ticket to sound slumber. Just eat walnuts, like all nuts, in moderation -- they are healthy, but also high in calories.>>Yum! Wild Rice Salad with Nuts and Dried Fruit5. Tahini
Tahini, ground sesame seed butter, is a key ingredient in hummus, but you can slather this tasty spread on a piece of whole grain toast as a before-bed snack. Sesame seeds naturally contain tryptophan, the amino acid linked with getting to sleep. It takes about an hour for tryptophan to take effect, so time your bedtime snack accordingly.
Eat up and sleep well!More vegan lifestyle tips for good health