The Rest Cure

December often means too much partying and not enough rest. It turns out that what you eat can help you sleep better. Poultry, milk, bananas and dates all contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you nod off. To get delicious recipes with these ingredients, F&W asked an expert: sleep-deprived chef Jeff Orr of Harvest in Madison, Wisconsin. DETAILS Harvest, 21 N. Pinckney St.; 608-255-6075.

Health: A Good Night's Rest

Worried you're not getting enough sleep? Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have determined that seven hours is optimal—not eight, as most people assume. After tracking more than a million adults for six years, the researchers found that those who slept seven hours per night lived the longest. In fact, "there's greater risk in sleeping more than 7.5 hours than in sleeping less than 6.5 hours," says Daniel Kripke, whose findings were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2002. A follow-up study at Nagoya City University in Japan, published this year in the journal Sleep, confirmed that those who slept 6.5 to 7.5 hours were less likely to experience depression, stroke and cancer than those who slept more than 8 hours or less than 4.5 hours.
—Ratha Tep

Beauty: The Night Shift

Origins Sensory Therapy Float Away Sleep-Inspiring Milk Bath contains a relaxing blend of chamomile and tangerine leaf. DETAILS $23 for 16.6 oz; 800-ORIGINS.

The Healing Garden Zzztheraphy Satin Dreams Foaming Bath & Shower Cream is scented with natural extracts of chamomile, vanilla bean and orange blossom. DETAILS $7 for 7 fl oz;

Nivea Body Renewal Night Lotion's grapeseed oil protects skin at night, when it absorbs moisture best. DETAILS $7 for 8.4 fl oz; 800-227-4703.

Molton Brown Air of Sleep Mist, with lavender, bergamot and ylang-ylang essential oils, can be sprayed on bed linens. DETAILS $49 for 3.3 fl oz; 212-744-6430.
—Jennifer Laing