As if you needed another excuse to eat nuts, these fatty legumes are a great source of mood-boosting magnesium. Without enough magnesium in your body, the part of the brain that regulates melatonin is thrown off, disrupting your sleep. An uptick in magnesium is what tells animals it’s time to hibernate—for us, not having enough of it may play a role in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the depression—and carb-craving—condition brought on by the low light of winter.
A 2010 study by USDA researchers, published in Magnesium Research, found that magnesium supplementation can help people who have a hard time sleeping to doze peacefully through the night. One group of the 100 tossers and turners over age 51 was given 320 milligrams of magnesium a day, while the other group was given a look-alike placebo. After 7 weeks, those taking the magnesium were sleeping better, and, as a bonus, had lower levels of dangerous inflammation, a rogue reaction by the immune system that is implicated in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
How to get your dose: Foods rich in magnesium are also extremely weight loss friendly: protein-rich fish and nuts, lentils, soy and black beans, as well as fiber-rich grains like bran.