8 Summer Fruits That Help You Sleep Better
Welcome back to our regular series with certified sleep educator Terry Cralle, MS, RN. In this post, Cralle shares the best fruits for sleep.
With so many fruits in season right now, it's the perfect time of year to get your fix. Beyond making for a delicious, refreshing snack on a hot day, certain fruits can also help you sleep better. So load up your plate with the following fruits—the United States Department of Agriculture recommends adult women eat one and a half cups of fruit per day and men eat two cups per day—and enjoy better sleep while you're at it.
This fuzzy green fruit is high in vitamin C, a nutrient essential for healthy sleep, as well as antioxidants, which protect cells against the harmful effects of free radicals (molecules that may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases). A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming kiwi fruit improved sleep quality in adults with sleep disturbances.
Keep the guacamole coming for a good night's sleep. Avocados are full of potassium, another nutrient that can help you sleep. A 1991 study published in the journal Sleep demonstrated that sleep quality was associated with potassium intake. Avocados are also high in fiber, a key nutrient for sleep. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, people who ate a diet low in fiber experienced lighter, less restorative sleep, while those who ate a high-fiber diet enjoyed deeper, more restorative sleep.
Related: The 10 worst foods to eat before bed
Whether you pack watermelon slices for your next picnic or mix it with feta and mint for a cool side dish at your next BBQ, this quintessential summer fruit can lead to better sleep. That's because it contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with less difficulty falling asleep.
Like watermelon, tomatoes are chock full of lycopene—they also contain sleep-friendly vitamin C.
Researchers have found a positive correlation between improved sleep and tart cherry juice consumption. Why? Tart cherries are rich in melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate your body clock.
Head to your local farmer's market this weekend and stock up on strawberries if you're having trouble sleeping. The vitamin C and melatonin in strawberries both promote healthy sleep. Plus, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the antioxidants in strawberries can help counteract the oxidative stress caused by sleep disorders.
Related: 5 drinks that help you sleep better
Consider using pineapple for more than just a garnish to your favorite tropical cocktail. A study published in the Journal of Pineal Research found that pineapple juice significantly increased participants' melatonin levels.
This summer favorite from the Mediterranean is high in iron, another nutrient that plays a role in how well you snooze. Iron deficiency has been linked to Restless Legs Syndrome, a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an urge to move the legs when falling asleep.
More from Terry Cralle: