Top 15 Unexpected Foods To Help You Sleep Better At Night

Updated: 08/27/2019

A good night's sleep is important to your emotional well-being and physical health. According to several studies, getting good sleep may decrease your risk of certain chronic diseases, boost your immunity, and keep your digestion and brain healthy[1] [2] [3]. There are multiple ways you can follow to encourage good sleep. Making changes to your regular diet is one of such ways since some superfoods come with sleep-promoting properties. Let discover the best food to help you sleep all night. 

Top 15 Foods To Help You Sleep At Night

1. Walnuts

Walnuts are rich in nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. Besides, they are rich in healthy fats such as linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, which may be excellent for decreasing appetite. A study found that walnuts can lower high cholesterol levels that are a primary risk factor for developing heart disease[4]. Some other studies show that eating walnuts may help improve sleep quality because they are high in the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin[5] [6]. Moreover, the fatty acids in these nuts can contribute to better sleep. Thus, eating a few walnuts before sleeping may help you sleep better. 

2. Passionflower Tea

Passionflower tea is abundant in flavonoid antioxidants, which are well known for reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of heart disease, and boosting immune health. It also helps to decrease anxiety since it consists of an antioxidant known as apigenin which produces a calming effect. A 2003 study found that drinking passionflower tea increased the GABA production, a brain chemical, which worked to prevent brain chemicals inducing stress[7]. Apart from that, its calming properties may help facilitate sleepiness, so it is useful to consume it before hitting the bed. Another research showed that those who drank passionflower tea rated their sleep quality remarkably[8]. Passionflower tea can influence your sleep because of its antioxidant apigenin and its ability to increase the production of GABA.

3. Almonds

Almonds are a chock-full of many nutrients such as phosphorus, riboflavin, and manganese. Some studies indicate that regular consumption of almonds may help to lower chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes due to their healthy monounsaturated fat, antioxidants, and fiber[9] [10]. Besides, almonds may aid in boosting sleep quality owing to their magnesium. According to a study, consuming enough amounts of magnesium can be useful for improving sleep quality, especially for people who have insomnia[11]. Along with that, magnesium plays a crucial role in enhancing sleep by reducing inflammation. It can also help lower cortisol, the stress hormone, which may interrupt sleep. Eat just a tablespoon of almond butter or a handful of dry roasted almonds at least 60 minutes before your bedtime to fall asleep faster.

4. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is full of antioxidants that help lower inflammation that cause chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Plus, it may strengthen your immunity, lower depression and anxiety and improve skin health. According to studies, chamomile tea has apigenin, an antioxidant, which is beneficial for binding to certain receptors in the brain that may enhance sleepiness and decrease insomnia[12] [13]. In addition to this, chamomile tea helps to soothe symptoms of   that is commonly related to sleep problems. Thus, consuming chamomile tea before sleeping will assist you in improving the quality of your sleep.

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5. Kiwi

Kiwis are a very nutritious fruit and are also low in calories. They also hold a remarkable amount of nutrients such as vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate. Their fiber and carotenoid antioxidants may reduce cholesterol, calm inflammation, and benefit digestive health. A 2011 study found that kiwifruit contains many medicinally useful compounds such as serotonin and antioxidants, which may be beneficial in treating sleep disorders and improving sleep[14]. Moreover, the antioxidants in this fruit such as carotenoids and vitamin C may be responsible for their sleep-promoting effects. Therefore, eating 1 to 2 medium kiwis before hitting the bed may aid you in falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.

6. White Rice

White rice is a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, and thiamin. A few research show that consuming foods containing a high glycemic index such as white rice several hours before sleeping may aid in improving sleep quality[15] [16]. Though eating white rice may help to promote sleep, it is best to consume in moderation because of its lack of nutrients, fiber and effects on blood sugar.  Limit to about ⅓ cup portion.

7. Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice is a powerhouse of several important nutrients such as manganese and vitamins A and C.  It is also high in antioxidants including flavonols and anthocyanins. Antioxidants may guard your cells against harmful inflammation that causes chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. According to a study, tart cherry juice can help promote sleepiness and relieve insomnia[17]. Tart cherry juice is high in melatonin that is responsible for its sleep-promoting effects.  If you struggle with falling or staying asleep at night, drink some tart cherry juice before bed.

8. Turkey

Turkey is loaded with protein that helps to keep your muscles strong and regulate your appetite. Turkey is also rich in riboflavin, selenium, and phosphorus. It also contains the amino acid, tryptophan[18] that is effective in increasing the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin production. Plus, its protein may help to promote tiredness. Consuming protein in moderate amounts before your bedtime is related to better sleep quality. If you are experiencing trouble falling asleep, then eat some turkey before bed.

Other Foods That Can Promote Sleep

  • Milk: Consuming one glass of warm milk before your bedtime will help you fall asleep. It also has tryptophan that is a precursor to the chemical serotonin in the brain. Serotonin and tryptophan aid in drifting off easily at night. Also, it is high in calcium that is excellent for regulating the production of melatonin. Calcium also helps to reduce stress and stabilize nerve fibers. In addition to milk, you can also consume other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.
  • Bananas: Bananas help to promote sleep, as they are full of natural muscle relaxants and potassium. Bananas are also high in magnesium and contain tryptophan. Both of these properties can assist you in getting a good night’s sleep. Plus, the fruit contains the high carbohydrate content, which helps to make you sleepy. You mix one ripe banana and one cup of milk. Blend these things well to create a tasty bedtime smoothie. Consume it at least 60 minutes before your regular bedtime.
  • Lettuce: Lettuce consists of lactucarium that has sedative properties. The calcium in it helps to bring on sleep. It further helps to deal with muscle or joint pain, headaches, and anxiety, which can lead to restlessness throughout the night. You can enjoy one cup of lettuce tea before sleeping. To make this tea, you boil 1-2 lettuce leave in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool and strain it. Sweeten the mixture and take it at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
  • Fortified Cereal: Eat foods such as fortified cereal to promote sleep because it has ‘good’ or complex carbohydrates. More importantly, foods high in complex carbohydrates can be useful for boosting tryptophan in the bloodstream. Apart from that, fortified cereals are abundant in vitamin B6 that helps to produce melatonin. Eat one small bowl of fortified cereal for a good night’s sleep.
  • Tuna: Tuna comes with sleep-inducing tryptophan. It is also packed with vitamin B6 that the body needs to make serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which promotes sleep while serotonin is a neurotransmitter which promotes relaxation. 
  • Beans: B vitamins are widely used to combat insomnia and help reduce anxiety and stress. If you’re seeking a natural vitamin B complex, you should try beans because they are a powerhouse of different B vitamins such as B6, niacin, and folate.
  • Oats: As you know, melatonin is a hormone which helps to control the body’s sleep and wake cycle. Oatmeal is a natural source of melatonin. Have a healthy oat cookie or a small bowl of oatmeal before hitting the bed. 

Enough sleep nightly is very vital for your health. Thankfully, the above foods may help because they contain sleep-regulating hormones together with brain chemicals including serotonin and melatonin. Include them in your regular diet if you have sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, hypersomnia, and narcolepsy. Also, let us know if you have other foods to help you sleep all night. All of the contents provided in this article are for informational and educational purposes. We recommend you consult a healthcare professional to determine which method is appropriate for you.

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