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According to the National Sleep Foundation, certain foods may help people fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly while others may compromise a person’s ability to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. In lieu of white bread, refined pastas and sugar-laden baked goods, all of which can reduce serotonin levels, the NSF recommends whole grains. The buildup of serotonin in the brain during periods of wakefulness can contribute to the onset of sleep later in the day. If serotonin levels in their brains are disturbed, then people may experience difficulty falling asleep. The NSF also recommends almonds and walnuts, which contain melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycles. In addition, foods that are high in lean protein that contain the amino acid tryptophan also may increase the production of serotonin, potentially contributing to a restful night’s sleep.

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