We've all been there. Staring at the clock in the middle of the night. Thinking, "If I get to sleep right now, I'll still get 4 hours of sleep. I can do it." Then another hour passes. And another. Sure, there are medications out there to help with insomnia, but did you know there are also natural ways to help your body get some sleep? There are several foods that have natural occurring substances that will aid in bring on those much needed zzzz's. Next time you're counting sheep, and you're in the hundreds with no end in sight, maybe a midnight snack is just what you need.


Everyone's heard that the best way to fall asleep is to drink a glass of warm milk. It's not just an Old Wive's Tale, either. But it's not the warm part, it's the milk part. Really any dairy product will do. The calcium in these foods helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture melatonin, which is your sleep-triggering hormone.


Cherries and particularly sour cherry juice are another food that is high in melatonin. Drink 8 ounces of sour cherry juice or eat a cup of cherries if the juice is too tart for you.


Even though you typically think of oatmeal as a food to eat when you wake up, it's actually a great way to help fall asleep too. Oatmeal is high in both magnesium and potassium, minerals that are natural muscle relaxers and sleep inducers. Not to mention it's typically eaten with milk, which as we mentioned earlier, is a good source of tryptophan.


Sweet potato varieties shot in the studio for Don Labonte
Sweet potatoes are another natural sleep inducer due to their large amount of complex carbohydrates, plus they're high in potassium. In fact, it's the complex carbs from the things like sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, and stuffings.


Make sure it's air-popped to avoid overdoing it on the calories, but popcorn is an ideal late-night-TV-watching snack food. The carbs in popcorn stimulate the release of insulin,which has been proven to control your circadian clock.

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