RealAge article by Mehmet C Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD
Here’s an important strategy to live younger and longer: Get enough sleep. Insomnia — or even just getting less than 6 hours of good sleep a night — increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and viral infections, but snoozing 6½ to 7½ hours can make your RealAge younger.
A couple of hours before bedtime, curl up with one of the following sleepy-time snacks that get your brain to release sleep-friendly chemicals.
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: serotonin, magnesium, and melatonin, your body’s natural sleep regulator. (Here’s another health benefit of sleep.)
3. Skim milk: Mom was right — a warm glassful will help you sleep better. The milk’s tryptophan has a sedating effect. Plus, it’s calcium that helps your brain use that tryptophan.
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 neuropeptide linked to alertness.
5. Whole-wheat bread: A slice of toast dotted with banana slices releases insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain. There it changes into serotonin and whispers, “Sweet dreams.”
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