Getting enough sleep is a good health must: It keeps you slim, prevents heart disease and diabetes, muscles up your memory, and more (if you have diabetes, you don’t just have to accept it: Prevention’s The Natural Way To Beat Diabetes shows you exactly how to get your life back). Don’t sleep on it—start following these easy tips today to wake up happier, healthier, and totally refreshed.
Digesting food takes energy, so if you have a heavy meal late in the day, your body will have to work hard to digest it while you’re trying to sleep. Aim to eat balanced meals throughout the day instead. (Give these 18 hearty morning meals a try.)
Combining carbs with protein containing tryptophan—like a cup of whole grain cereal with fat-free milk—will make you sleepier than having just one of the two. Carbs help release the sleep-triggering chemical into your bloodstream, which tells your brain it’s time to log off.
In the evening, eat a handful of cherries, which scientists discovered are jam-packed with melatonin, the same hormone created by your body to regulate sleep pattern. (Check out how drinking tart cherry juice leads to sleeping 90 more minutes a night.)
Eating a fish-based diet can help you snooze more soundly. Cod, tuna, snapper, halibut, and especially shrimp contain levels of sleep-promoting tryptophan comparable to those found in turkey. (Be sure to avoid these 12 fish to never ever eat.)
A late-night pizza slice can trigger heartburn and derail slumber. If you’re prone to indigestion, avoid fatty foods or citrus (as well as chocolate, mints, and carbonated beverages) close to bedtime. (If you do get heartburn, here are 7 ways to stop it without antacids.)