Foods that could help you get to sleep

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NBC News (NBC) - While your family is getting back into the school year sleep routine, you may want to examine your meal plans.

There are foods that could keep you up at night and there are even some that could help you fall asleep.

You may know taking a little melatonin can help you drift off to sleep, but Erin Gussler from the Whole Health Center recommends taking it sparingly, such as when you travel.

She says long-term use can have the opposite effect.

"The more you take supplementally, the less your body thinks it needs to produce."

Instead, she recommends encouraging your body to make melatonin through diet.

To do that, you should know melatonin comes from seratonin and seratonin comes from tryptophan.

Remember, tryptophan is what makes us feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner.

Gussler said, "So actually eating turkey for breakfast or lunch, you get that nice dose of tryptophan, which then as the day progresses, you convert it to seratonin and then melatonin."

Salty foods for dinner may lead to thirst in the early morning hours.

Try drinking water a couple of hours before bed to hydrate you.

And keep in mind alcoholic drinks can also dehydrate, and contrary to belief, will not help you sleep.

"It actually can drop your blood sugars at night and it prevents you from getting into a deep, restful sleep."

The most important sleep support your body needs is magnesium.

Foods with magnesium are figs, sweet potatoes, prunes, almonds, and dark chocolate.

Remember, dark chocolate also has a small bit of caffeine, so Gussler recommends eating it at least an hour before bed.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.