5 Foods That Fight Insomnia in the Elderly

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5 Foods Seniors Can Eat to Fight Insomnia

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on January 23, 2017

Daytime napping, side effects of medication, and disabilities often contribute to insomnia in the elderly. However, you can help your aging loved one sleep better by serving foods with nutrients that naturally promote sleep. The Scottsdale in-home senior care experts at Home Care Assistance have put together a list of 5 foods that can help your loved one fight insomnia.

1. Bananas

Though they are well known for their ability to boost energy, bananas can also help your loved one stay asleep at night. Bananas are rich in nutrients that promote sleep, including potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is especially helpful for preventing insomnia because it signals the neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin, which are responsible for sleepiness.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is warm and comforting, which can help your loved one mentally prepare for bedtime. The high levels of magnesium and potassium in oatmeal can also help boost sleep levels, which may help your loved one stay asleep at night.

3. Cherries

Researchers from Louisiana State University found seniors who drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day increased their sleep by an average of 84 minutes per night. Cherries naturally contain tryptophan and melatonin, both which can help modulate your loved one’s sleep.

4. Lean Proteins

Lean proteins, such as a small amount of peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, or several ounces of chicken, can help your loved one sleep better at night. Foods with lean protein contain high levels of tryptophan and can help your loved one stay full longer, preventing him or her from waking too early due to hunger.

5. Kiwi

Eating 2 kiwis just before bedtime can help your loved one sleep better at night. A 2011 study conducted by researchers at Taipei Medical University found people who consumed kiwi before going to bed were able to decrease the amount of time it took to fall asleep and increase the amount of time they slept. The antioxidants and serotonin naturally found in kiwi are believed to be responsible for the sleep benefits.

To learn more about senior nutrition, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of respite and live-in care, and we also offer specialized stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s home care Scottsdale, AZ, families trust. For more information and to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Care Managers, please call 480.448.6215 today.