Sleep is a vital part of our lives. Without adequate quality sleep, our health suffers and virtually every task becomes more difficult. Thus, we owe it to ourselves to try to get better sleep. There are tons of factors that contribute to the quality of our sleep, but did you know that there are actually foods that help you sleep better at night?

When we think about food that makes you sleepy, we tend to think about Thanksgiving turkey. For decades people have thought that the tryptophan content in turkey is what makes us sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. This is, in fact, a myth. With that said, there definitely are some foods to help you sleep that you can explore. Let’s dive in!

 

What Foods Help You Sleep?

 

1. Kiwis

Kiwis, the yummy, fuzzy fruits that are grown mostly in New Zealand and California, may help significantly improve sleep quality and duration. A recent study¬†showed significant improvements in most aspects of sleep quality when patients were given 2 kiwi fruits to eat before bed. Kiwis are rich in vitamin A, C, serotonin, and other beneficial nutrients. Overall, Kiwis appear to be some of the best foods that help you sleep – and they’re tasty, too!

 

2. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is a mild herbal tea that is popular worldwide, and has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy. Chamomile can have a calming, mildly sedative effect on our bodies and minds, which helps us drift off to sleep quicker. Making a quick cup before bed can help prime our bodies and minds for a restful night of sleep.

 

3. Fiber-Rich Foods

Any foods rich in fiber – such as veggies, beans, quinoa, etc. can help improve sleep quality. Fiber helps to prevent surges in blood sugar, which can disrupt melatonin production. Plus, fiber is just really beneficial in general, and few people consume adequate fiber in their diets.

 

4. Fish

Fish, and especially salmon, tuna and halibut, can also help you sleep better. Fish contains a lot of vitamin B6 and DHA healthy fats, which are both important for melatonin production. Meltonin is the primary sleep hormone, so it’s not hard to see why these varieties of fish are considered good sleeping foods to chow down on.

 

5. Soy

Edamame, tufu, miso, and other soy-based products are good foods to help you sleep because they are rich in isoflavones. Isoflavones contribute to the body’s production of serotonin, which is a hormone vitally important to our natural sleep/wake cycle.

 

6. Walnuts

Walnuts are a nutritious snack, and a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps enhance sleep. Walnuts also contain naturally occurring melatonin, which can help you fall asleep faster.

 

7. Almonds

Almonds are another healthful nut. Almonds are a food that helps you sleep by providing your body with much-needed magnesium, a mineral that contributes to sleep duration and quality. Many people are deficient in magnesium, which can disrupt sleep patterns.

 

8. Dairy

Dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, milk, etc. are good foods to promote sleep because they contain calcium and tryptophan. The combination of calcium and tryptophan help boost melatonin production, and melatonin is the primary hormone used to trigger sleep.

 

9. Lettuce

Lettuce contains a compound called lactucarium, which has mild sedative effects. Lactucarium is said to have a similar (albeit more mild) effect on the brain as opium.

 

10. Cherries & Cherry Juice

Cherries, particularly tart varieties, can help boost melatonin production naturally. Cherry juice might be the most effective, but keep in mind it can contain a lot of sugar, as well.

 

Care To Share Any Foods That Help YOU Sleep?

We love hearing from our readers about sleep tricks they’ve found that work for them. Have you identified foods to help you sleep? Let us know in the comments!

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is a freelance writer, CPAP user, and self-proclaimed sleep enthusiast from the Seattle area. When he's not writing or researching about sleep science, you can find him snowboarding, cooking or traveling the world. Contact him at [email protected]

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