SLEEP SOUNDLY TONIGHT
The end of daylight saving time makes women twice as likely to toss and turn. To the rescue: delicious picks that will help you fall asleep fast and wake up feeling refreshed
LEMONGRASS CALMS OVERACTIVE NERVES
The citrusy aroma of lemongrass (a tropical plant that’s used as an herb) signals the body to produce a compound that slows down nerve cell activity in the brain, triggering drowsiness. This effect has been shown to help women drift off to sleep within 30 minutes. To get the benefits, sip 8 oz. of hot or iced lemongrass tea (like Alvita Lemongrass Tea, $5, iherb.com).
BEEF STABILIZES BLOOD SUGAR
Post-dinner blood-sugar fluctuations increase the risk of sleep disruptions, according to Canadian studies. But enjoying beef kebabs can help. That’s because red meat is packed with protein and stearic acid — a nutrient duo that USDA researchers say slows the absorption of carbs in the intestines to help stabilize blood sugar and promote sound sleep.
RICE BOOSTS SEROTONIN LEVELS
Eating ⁄2 cup of jasmine rice at dinnertime
1 helped subjects in an Australian study fall asleep 50 percent faster — plus, the rice eaters cut their average number of nighttime awakenings threefold. How? The grain’s floral aroma kick-starts the production of relaxing alpha brain waves while its carbs switch on the enzymes that produce the soothing hormone serotonin.
TOMATOES QUIET BRAIN ACTIVITY
The more of these ruby gems women include in their diet, the more deeply they sleep, according to a University of Pennsylvania study. The reason? Lycopene (the pigment that gives tomatoes their vibrant hue) calms the brain’s anxiety center to ward off sleep-sapping stress. Tip: Cooking tomatoes increases their lycopene levels, so roast them when possible.
CRANBERRIES REGULATE MELATONIN
To prevent early morning awakenings, enjoy 1 cup of cranberries daily, suggest researchers at Winona State University in Minnesota. Plant compounds (called anthocyanins) in these gems prompt the brain to produce a steady trickle of the sleep-boosting hormone melatonin throughout the night so you don’t wake before you’ve had ample rest.