5 fruits that can help you eat your way to sleep

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5 fruits that can help you eat your way to sleep

If you think eating before bedtime is a no-no, think again. Sure, you don't want to dig in to a pint of ice cream or polish off a juicy steak before bed, but many experts claim that eating certain fruits before hitting the hay could help you sleep better.

Whether you have trouble getting to sleep, or find yourself tossing and turning all night, adding a few of these late-night snacks into your nighttime regimen might just help you defeat chronic insomnia and wake up more refreshed.

If you have trouble waking up in the night, eating kiwi fruit might help. Courtesy of Brent Hofacker/Flickr/For the AJC

Kiwi fruit

You might know that these green, sweet little fruits go well in a fruit salad, but you might not know that they could also help you have a more restful sleep. In a study highlighted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the consumption of two kiwifruits within one hour of bedtime could reduce mid-sleep wakefulness by a whopping 30 percent. If you can't seem to stay asleep through the night, try adding kiwi fruit to your shopping list.

Bananas

Although you might usually eat bananas with breakfast, they actually contain high levels of potassium and magnesium, natural muscle relaxers that can allow your body to feel more at ease and ready for sleep. Also, the carbohydrates in bananas can increase your sleepiness. So if you're feeling a little peckish before bed, go ahead and peel your way to a better night's sleep.

Certain minerals in bananas can help relax your muscles. Courtesy of Aleta Meadowlark/Flickr/For the AJC

Cherries

Cherries and cherry juice contain high levels of melatonin, a hormone in the brain that controls your sleep regulation. One study even shows that drinking tart cherry juice could improve sleep in people who suffer from insomnia. Conducted by Louisiana State University, the study found that adults who consumed just 8 ounces of tart cherry juice two times a day slept for an additional 85 minutes.

Berries

Berries -- including blueberries, raspberries and blackberries -- contain very high levels of antioxidants. According to experts at the National Sleep Foundation, antioxidants can protect you from the stress of a sleep disorder, which can cause oxidation in the body. Consuming antioxidant-rich berries before bed can help reduce your overall physical stress, thereby allowing you to have a more restful sleep.

Pineapple

Another fruity treat to enjoy before bed is the humble pineapple. Also high in melatonin, researchers discovered that after eating pineapple, the melatonin markers in the body could increase by 266 percent. This means that regularly consuming this sweet treat before bed could help you fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer.

Pineapple can boost your melatonin levels, helping you fall asleep more easily. Courtesy of Scott Webb/Flickr/For the AJC

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