Written by Stephanie Koathes

Foods to help you sleep


If you’ve ever had problems getting to sleep you know how annoying and frustrating it can be.

Certain foods and beverages can actually help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. They might not cure your insomnia, but these foods are always good to have around for more restful nights.

• Chamomile tea is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts as a mild sedative.

Fresh milk in the glass on the table

• Milk is full of the amino acid tryptophan that helps produce melatonin and serotonin, hormones which regulate sleep.

• Eating fibre rich food such as beans, bran cereal and quinoa has been associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep as stated in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

• Chicken and turkey are also rich in tryptophan which can help boost the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

• Melatonin containing fruits like pineapple and oranges are good “before bed” foods to help you fall asleep. Tart cherries and tart cherry juice contain a lot of melatonin.

pineapple with slices

• Though bananas are thought of as an energy-giving snack, they’re actually wonderful for sleep because they contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. It is thought that too little magnesium leads to less restful sleep. Bananas also contain serotonin and melatonin.

• Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles.


• Almonds are a staple snack for dieters, but they should be in everyone’s pantry for restful sleep. Almonds are rich in muscle relaxing magnesium and the sleep-enhancing amino acid, tryptophan.

• Stay away from sugary foods and refined carbs before bed, but complex carbs like oatmeal, bran cereal, brown rice and whole grain bread are your friend. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, which is why carbohydrate-heavy meals can make you drowsy.

Sources: Cleveland Clinic, Sleep Foundation, Reader’s Digest, Independent UK


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