Eat Your Sleep Issues Away: Foods That Help You Sleep

written by / July 1, 2019
Foods That Help You Sleep - Featured

Everybody’s talking about a good night’s sleep and its amazing health benefits. Although we don’t want to sound repetitive, we can’t emphasize enough how important sleep is for our wellbeing. It boosts our immune system, keeps our heart healthy, improves our memory, prevents certain types of cancer, and much more.

Therefore, it’s crucial to get the recommended 7–9 hours of slumber every night. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep quality, and one of them is changing your diet. Read on to learn more about the foods that help you sleep


It’s a common belief that turkey makes us feel sleepy. This comes from the fact that it’s rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes the production of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. However, things aren’t that simple. First, other poultry also contains tryptophan, so chicken can be just as effective as turkey. Second, it’s not enough to just eat meat and expect to fall asleep quickly.

You’ll actually need to eat turkey in combination with carbohydrates because they help this amino acid enter the brain. Still, no need to go overboard with carbs—a small portion of 30 grams will suffice. So these together create a perfect combo of the foods that can help you sleep better.

Although we need more scientific evidence to support turkey’s role in promoting sleep, you can try eating turkey with a small piece of whole-grain bread or some rice before bedtime. Besides helping you get some shut-eye, this meat is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Fatty Fish

Salmon, tuna, trout, and other fatty fish bring plenty of health benefits. First of all, they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce chronic inflammation, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and improve heart health.

Additionally, fatty fish are known for having a high content of vitamin D. Both of these nutrients have an important role in the production of serotonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep cycle. That’s why fatty fish are often listed among the foods that help you sleep through the night.

One study compared the sleep quality of men eating Atlantic salmon three times a week to that of men eating chicken, beef, and pork. According to their findings, fatty fish had a positive effect on sleep, probably because it boosts vitamin D levels.

So if you have problems falling or staying asleep, you might try eating a few ounces of salmon before bed to improve your night’s rest.


Many of us associate a warm glass of milk with a good night’s sleep. Although it’s true that milk is one of the melatonin-rich foods that also contain calcium, vitamin D, and tryptophan, all of which can enhance sleep quality, we need more research to prove the effects of milk on our slumber.

However, having a cup of milk before bed can have positive psychological effects since it may remind us of our childhood and help us unwind. In fact, many experts recommend introducing a relaxing ritual into our bedtime routine since our brain likes predictability. So why not try this simple trick to prepare your mind and body for a night’s rest?

White Rice

According to an Australian study, the foods that help you sleep better and fall asleep more quickly are those with a high glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is a value that shows the rate at which a certain type of food raises blood glucose levels. Since white rice is high in carbohydrates, it has a high GI, meaning it’s great at promoting sleep. Similarly, pasta, bread, and potatoes may promote good sleep. As one study suggests, you should eat these sleep-inducing foods at least one hour before going to bed to improve your slumber.

Barley Grass Powder

Barley grass powder offers a wide range of health benefits. According to a recent scientific paper, this dietary supplement can regulate blood pressure, boost the immune system, alleviate depression, prevent cardiovascular diseases, and so much more. Additionally, it promotes sleep thanks to its content of calcium, magnesium, and tryptophan. It also contains GABA, an amino acid that plays an important role in sleep regulation. 

So if you experience sleep problems, you should definitely try this powerful powder. Depending on your preferences, here are a few bedtime snack ideas. You could also add barley grass powder to a healthy smoothie, salad dressing, or soup.


If you’re looking for a light meal before bedtime, a salad is the perfect choice. Researchers gave lettuce extract to mice in order to test its sleep-promoting effects. Their findings show that lettuce can prolong sleep duration. Additionally, they also gave them n-butanol fraction, a compound found in lettuce, and discovered that it can both prolong sleep duration and decrease the time needed to fall asleep. So there’s definitely a positive correlation between this food and sleep quality.


Foods That Help You Sleep - Almonds

Besides having numerous health benefits, such as reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease, almonds can contribute to a great night’s sleep. Thanks to their melatonin content, they help people fight insomnia without having to use sleeping pills.

In addition, one ounce of almonds provides 19% of your daily needs of magnesium, a mineral that can boost sleep quality and alleviate insomnia symptoms. According to one experimental study, rats slept better when they were fed with almond extract.

If you’d like to get more shut-eye, you can try eating a handful of almonds before bedtime. They might prove to be one of the best foods for sleep.


Walnuts are another type of tree nut that can boost sleep quality because of their melatonin content. What’s more, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may promote the production of serotonin, another important sleep-regulating hormone.

Although more research is necessary to examine the walnut’s effects on slumber, you can eat about an ounce of walnuts before bed to see if they enhance your sleep quality. If nothing else, they’re really healthy for your heart.


Bananas are probably the best fruit to eat before bed. Here’s why: They contain tryptophan, an amino acid whose role in the production of melatonin we’ve already discussed. Additionally, bananas are a good source of magnesium, a healthy nutrient that relaxes our muscles and helps people with insomnia sleep better. Being rich in carbs also makes them a perfect bedtime snack since carbohydrates can promote sleepiness.

Kiwi Fruits

Based on a study that included people with sleep problems, kiwi fruits were found to be among the foods that will help you sleep better. The study’s findings show that this nutritious fruit can help people fall asleep more quickly and sleep longer. So if you need a good night’s sleep, it seems that eating kiwi before bed is a good idea.

The positive effects of kiwi fruits on sleep can be explained by their serotonin content, a hormone that regulates our sleep cycle. According to some studies, antioxidants can also promote sleep because they reduce inflammation. With this in mind, we should point out that kiwis are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids. Looks like they’re a great fruit for sleep

While scientists are kept busy with further research into the relationship between kiwis and sleep quality, you can test this fruit for yourself. Before you go to bed, have one to two kiwis, and see if they work.

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice is a rich source of melatonin, a hormone that your body naturally produces when the sun sets in order to prepare itself for sleep. Therefore, this tasty drink has great potential for treating insomnia.

Participants in one study reported that they slept longer when they drank this juice. Nevertheless, further research is needed to examine the effects of tart cherries on sleep quality.

Chamomile Tea

Foods That Help You Sleep - Chamomile Tea

Other drinks that help you sleep include herbal teas. As you probably know, chamomile tea is a traditional home remedy for sleep problems. However, studies show somewhat controversial results. Some studies have found that this herbal tea has positive effects on sleep quality while others don’t support this claim. Chamomile’s calming properties are usually associated with its apigenin content, which is known for its sedative effects.

Passionflower Tea

Passionflower tea is another herbal tea that may help you sleep better. Just like chamomile, it contains apigenin, which is responsible for its calming effect. Based on the experimental findings, this natural sleep aid may improve sleep quality as well. However, there needs to be more research before we can verify its effects.


What foods help you fall asleep?

In general, further research is necessary to gain clear evidence for the effects of natural remedies for sleep problems. However, there are a number of foods that may have sleep-inducing properties. They include foods with a high content of carbohydrates, such as white rice and potatoes. Also, some fruits and nuts contain sleep-promoting compounds, such as melatonin, tryptophan, and magnesium.

Do eggs help you sleep?

Eating eggs with your dinner can help you sleep better. This extremely nutritious food is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that boosts the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. However, you should combine eggs with foods high in carbs since they help the tryptophan reach your brain.

Will eating a banana help me sleep?

Yes, bananas are a great choice for a bedtime snack. They contain a healthy amount of tryptophan, which promotes the production of melatonin. Additionally, they are a good source of magnesium and carbs. It’s proven that all these ingredients promote good sleep.

What should I drink before bed to help me sleep?

There are several options depending on your preferences. Herbal teas, like chamomile and passionflower, are well-known for their calming effects. Another great drink that will make you sleepy is tart cherry juice, which will raise the levels of melatonin in your blood. Finally, a cup of warm milk is famous for helping people get some shut-eye. Although we need more scientific proof for its sleep-inducing effects, having a cup of milk is a great bedtime ritual that will help you relax. 

However, avoid drinking wine and other alcoholic drinks that help you sleep at first because they can interfere with the quality of your sleep.


Work and family responsibilities often don’t leave us much time to sleep. What’s more, we usually feel tense at the end of the day and have difficulty falling asleep in the first place. However, sleep is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. A good night’s rest allows us to be more productive at work, more patient with our children, and generally behave better as people. So make sleep your priority.

You can try to boost your slumber’s duration and quality by adjusting your daily menu. Have some tuna, white rice, almonds, or other foods that help you sleep before bed. However, don’t forget to avoid alcohol, coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages, all of which can negatively affect your sleep.

Before I started working as a sleep expert, I always envied people who were passionate about their jobs. Now I finally have an opportunity to do something I truly enjoy, and no, I can’t sleep at work! For me, it’s definitely as good as it gets—as I spend a considerable amount of time lying down on various mattresses, testing sleeping products, and reviewing them to help guide you to your ideal sleeping situation. Plus, I work tightly with other sleep experts and doctors to provide you with valuable information and helpful advice about sleep.