Get more sleep for your heart and health

Sufficient sleep has long been associated with good health, but, in recent years, researchers have drawn a correlation between sleep and heart health. In one study, researchers found a possible direct link between lack of sleep and calcium buildup in the arteries, which causes plaque to form and raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.

In another study, researchers found that people who suffer from insomnia — difficulty falling or staying asleep — had a 45 percent greater risk of a heart attack compared to those who regularly fell asleep without trouble.

If you have difficulty sleeping, you may find that sleep-promoting foods can help you get more and higher-quality sleep at night. Eating these healthy foods throughout the day and before bedtime can help you achieve more restful, restoring sleep.

  1. Fish: Contains vitamin B6, which helps the body make the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.
  2. Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a good source of B6.
  3. Bananas: Rich in B6 and potassium, an effective combination for sleep.
  4. Yogurt: Calcium has been found to help you fall asleep faster and have better quality sleep.
  5. Tart cherry juice: Studies show benefits for people with insomnia.
  6. Whole grains: Contains magnesium, which can help you to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
  7. Fortified cereals: Another good source of B6 and a great bedtime snack.
  8. Almonds: Contain magnesium for muscle relaxation and better sleep.
  9. Decaffeinated tea: For maximum benefit, try chamomile or decaf green tea, which contains theanine.
  10. Hard-boiled eggs: Eating a high-protein snack before bed could help you sleep longer.

If you’re experiencing chronic sleep difficulties, make sure to discuss the possible causes and solutions of your sleep concerns with your physician.