Skip to main content
take the reality check diet analysis take the reality check diet analysis

Health Tips

From tips on how to lose weight effectively to ways to combat boredom eating, this collection of informative articles covers a wide range of health topics that matter to real people, like you.

13 Foods That Help You Sleep

Eat your way to health, weight loss... And sleep!? In a busy society, optimal sleep may seem out of the question. But "rest" assured, bistroMD may just have the anticipated answer! These foods to help you sleep may be exactly what you need to obtain the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

13 Foods That Help You Sleep

Foods That Help You Sleep

Combination of Tryptophan and Carbs Tryptophan-containing foods are suggested to induce sleepiness, as the amino acid plays a large role in elevating serotonin levels. Serotonin, known as the "feel good" hormone, is a body chemical shown to initiate a calming effect. Serotonin can further be converted into melatonin, a hormone advocated to induce sleep at a quicker rate and increase sleep hours. Interestingly, a high-tryptophan diet does not elevate serotonin levels on their own. Carbohydrate sources assists in heightening serotonin, subsequently increasing the effects of melatonin.

1. Turkey Sandwich
Turkey is notorious for its tryptophan content. To increase its availability in the body, pair with whole grain bread. Sticking to a half sandwich can further save on calories and reduce carb content!

2. Soybeans
Also known as the soya bean, soybean is a valuable plant-based protein source. So if straying away from animal meats or limiting their intake (including the tryptophan-containing turkey identified above), soybean may also be a beneficial food that helps you sleep. Cozy up with this warm bowl of nutritious, soybean curry. Added bonus, they also boast in magnesium. Read on to discover the mineral's contribution in fighting insomnia!

3. Cheese and Crackers
Whether it be mozzarella or cheddar, top cheese onto grained crackers for a simple bedtime snack. For best portion control practices, utilize a cheese stick or cheese cubes, as one serving of cheese resembles four stacked dice cubes.

4. Cheesy Popcorn
Popcorn is light in calories but boasts with fiber, making it a diet-friendly nighttime snack. Sprinkle popcorn with tryptophan-containing shredded cheese to encourage a good night's rest!

5. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds boast with tryptophan! Munch on this pumpkin seed trail mix to enrich the calming potential of tryptophan. Like soybeans, they are also rich in insomnia-fighting magnesium!

6. Bananas and Yogurt
Bananas also contain potassium, a nutrient suggested to prevent waking up throughout the night. A protein-rich, natural-carb containing Greek yogurt paired with banana slices is a filling, yet low-calorie bedtime option.

7. Cherries
Cherries are special, as they may be the only food source to naturally offer melatonin! Specifically, tart cherries are shown prompt a better night's sleep and improve sleep duration. For an extra dose of sleepy, combine the sleep-inducing properties of pumpkin seeds and cherries into one nutritious trail mix.

Magnesium-Rich Foods
The mineral has been explored and suggested to treat insomnia, a common sleeping disorder that may make it hard to fall or stay asleep. Magnesium may encourage sleep efficiency, improve sleep onset, and sleep duration. The following are rich sources of the sleep-inducing mineral.

8. Rice Bran
Rice bran is used mostly to create breads and cereals, and further used to enrich fiber content in other products. Rice bran, though, is one of the richest sources of magnesium available with its use capable of combatting insomnia. If not desiring getting in the kitchen to bake with rice bran, take a sip out of this healthy strawberry-banana smoothie. Further packed with protein, you will feel guiltlessly satisfied until the morning hours.

9. Almonds
Almonds also offer magnesium along with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. When enjoying almonds, though, it is important to stick to recommended portion sizes, as they are calorically-dense. On average, a small palmful (approximately one ounce or 23 almonds), provides 130 calories.

10. Cocoa Powder
Chocolate before bed? This may seem too good to be true! However, it is important to utilize pure cocoa powder, as commercial chocolate products are loaded with unwanted sugars, which may inhibit sleep induction. Mixing hot cocoa into warm milk can supplementary initiate a calming lull, accelerating feelings of sleepiness.

Sipping on tea come bedtime has been a practice for centuries. The soothing effects of these teas may assist in richer and more sufficient sleeping patterns.

11. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile, coming from daisy-like plants and flowers, is commonly steeped in water to produce chamomile tea. Also known as the "sleep tea," the warmth and delicate flavor assists in soothing and relaxing the body. Sleep quality has further shown to improve in postpartum women following German chamomile tea intake.

12. Lavender Tea
In addition to chamomile, lavender tea has also shown to improve sleep quality in postpartum women. This soothing herbal tea features lavender and may be the key to a restful night's sleep!

13. Green Tea
Green tea, devoid of caffeine, has shown to aid in good quality sleep. Green tea contains theanine, a beneficial amino acid, offering mood stability, stress reduction, and sleep improvement.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on December 09, 2016. Updated on December 20, 2016.


Follow @bistroMD

Theme picker

as seen on...
Dr Phil
Lifetime Network
The Biggest Loser
The Doctors