5 foods to help seniors get back to sleep


Many seniors have trouble falling asleep. However, a good night’s sleep is often the key to a day full of energy. Poor sleep can be detrimental to the health of seniors. Lack of sleep is even associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. If you know a senior who is prone to insomnia, eating certain foods can help them get back to sleep.

Fighting insomnia in seniors

More than a third of seniors complain of a change in sleep, both qualitative and quantitative. It is natural for seniors to need to sleep a little less and to wake up several times a night. But many seniors suffer from real sleep disorders.

Poor sleep can lead to a variety of health problems. Studies have linked poor sleep to an increased risk of developing dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

If you find that your elderly loved one is having trouble falling asleep at night, but you can’t attribute it to their medications or an illness, you can help your parent by suggesting that they eat certain foods rich in beneficial nutrients before bed. These foods are good for seniors and even for you: they can calm the body, relax the mind and help you fall asleep better.

1-Nutrient-rich fruits

Some fruits contain minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, that promote sleep by relaxing the muscles and calming the nervous system.

Bananas are an excellent example of how to promote sleep for seniors. Not only are they rich in potassium and magnesium, but they also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is essential for the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neuromediator that regulates mood and prepares us for sleep. While melatonin is a hormone associated with sleep.

Cherries are also an excellent source of melatonin, while fruits such as apples, apricots and peaches are high in magnesium.

These fruits are also good for combating undernutrition in the elderly. Seniors will therefore benefit from them to the maximum.

2-Complex carbohydrates

Whole grains, as well as foods such as oats, popcorn or even jasmine rice, or sweet potatoes, are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. The latter have the characteristic of increasing the level of tryptophan.

A bowl of mashed sweet potatoes with honey, or a bowl of oats or cereal, whole grain crackers with a little lean protein, or high-fiber, low-calorie popcorn, are an excellent choice for reducing insomnia in seniors.

Oats are particularly beneficial for seniors because they are also rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium.

3-Lean proteins

Lean proteins are also rich in tryptophan which, as we have seen, increases the level of serotonin and will improve the sleep of seniors.

It is not recommended to consume too much protein before going to bed, which would prevent seniors from sleeping. However, one can eat a peanut butter with a banana, an egg on wholemeal bread toast, crackers with low-fat cheese, etc. These small snacks help seniors sleep better.

4-Heart healthy fats

As surprising as it may seem, heart-healthy fats are also an option to consider for improving sleep in seniors. Unsaturated fats are excellent for cardiovascular health, and also improve serotonin levels. So before sleeping, seniors can consume a little avocado, peanut butter or other nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, cashews. Almonds, for example, are rich in protein and magnesium, which promotes muscle relaxation.

On the other hand, it is not recommended to consume trans fats, which reduce the level of serotonin and therefore affect the sleep of seniors.

It should be noted that today the deleterious effects of saturated fats are being questioned by more and more researchers. Read our blog Controversy about the effect of cholesterol on the elderly.

5-A hot drink

Seniors can drink a glass of hot milk before going to bed. Milk, like other dairy products, contains tryptophan. In addition, it is an excellent source of calcium, which regulates melatonin production.

An herbal tea can also relax seniors before going to bed. Recommended herbs include chamomile and peppermint. Seniors can also drink tea (without caffeine) with r

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