Foods That Help You Sleep

by Khulsum Khanom January 24, 2022 9 min read

Foods That Help You Sleep

Foods That Help You Sleep

We know that it is vital that we get a good night’s sleep however, it is hard for some people to sleep so here is a blog going over some foods that may help you have a sufficient amount of sleep by promoting the production of melatonin in your body. The central habits for and to maintain a heathy life and body is to have a good diet, to exercise and to sleep well. All three of these things go parallel to one another, so if one of these takes a hit it is very likely that the other will also suffer from that hit. With that same logic if one of these is heightened then the others will follow too making your life feel so much better and leaving you feeling not only externally but internally healthier too.

Studies have found that people who have a diet with poor nutritional value were more likely to have a more challenging time falling asleep, thus proving that diet and food intake has a direct correlation to our sleep and sleeping habits. A lot of people have sleep related issues or issues that don’t allow for them to have quality sleep, or these issues just make it harder for them to fall asleep. A good night’s sleep starts off with a nutritious breakfast, followed by a healthy lunch and dinner combined with several little snacks. Sometimes foods that help promote the producing of melatonin is needed for people who have a difficult time falling asleep. Try avoiding eating a late dinner as it may raise your body temperature and interfere with the release of melatonin.

Sleep effects every aspect of our health but fortunately there are some foods that include some compounds that help our sleep cycle so that we are able to give our body a little boost to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. There are several different types of amino acids, enzymes, chemicals, nutrients, and hormones that work together to promote good sleep and regulate the sleep cycle. Some of these include melatonin, magnesium, tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D, serotonin, B vitamins, potassium, antioxidants, zinc, folate, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and copper.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is the hormone that our body’s clock uses to control our daily sleeping and waking up cycle, melatonin is usually released when our environment is darker, and it is produced less when our environment is lighter. There are plenty of pro-sleep foods may help with the increase of melatonin in your body thus allowing you to sleep better and hopefully longer. Here are some of these foods and how they may help you fall asleep and stay asleep: (I have taken into consideration that some people have allergies or just don’t like some foods, so I have tried to add as many different types of foods for your taste palates)

Fish:

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of these can help improve your sleep quality. Consuming it early in the day can maximize melatonin production while also boosting your daytime mood and energy. Salmon not only provides benefits for improving sleeping, but it also provides benefits for other things such as benefits for your eye, joint, brain, heart and it may also help with healthy cholesterol and blood pressure. One 4-ounce serving of wild salmon holds over 236% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin B12, over 127% of vitamin D, 78% of selenium, and over half the RDI for vitamin B3 and omega-3 fats. Omega 3’s can help adults with improving their sleep quality and length. If you don’t like fish then there are also some other options to get vitamin D from different foods such as juice, egg yolks and fortified dairy.

Kale:

Kale is a very popular green because, of the uniquely diverse benefits that it has to offer. Kale is considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet due to its many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A cup of chopped kale contains 10% RDI of vitamin B6, combined with a good amount of magnesium, calcium, and potassium. In addition to these pro-sleep nutrients, kale has huge amounts of vitamins K, A, and C, and contains small amounts of iron and the fatty acid omega-3s. Kale is filled with calcium which aids the brains use of tryptophan to produce melatonin. Kale is packed with vitamins and minerals that help support healthy sleep and sleep in general.

Carrots:

Carrots have the highest source of the nutrient alpha-carotene which is the most closely associated with better sleep. Carrots are packed with a numerous of other sleep-promoting nutrients, for instance; potassium and vitamin B6, as well as vitamin A and biotin. Diets that had low levels of the nutrient alpha-carotene were found to have difficulty falling asleep.  

Broccoli:

Broccoli contains a lot of fibre in them, consuming more fibre in your diet may help you spend more time in restorative sleep, the phases of deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep during which your body and mind undergoes the most revitalisation and recovery. If you have fibre-filled foods like broccoli and other vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains it will allow your body to have all the fibre that it needs in order to for full optimisation and to allow your body to receive the full amount of restoration to help with any rebuilding that your body may need.

Walnuts:

Walnuts are a great source of the hormone melatonin, which as stated before oversees our “internal clocks” that our body uses to regulate sleep. Walnuts provide us will a number of different nutrients, providing us with over 19 vitamins and minerals, walnuts are especially high in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and copper. Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin. Additionally, studies from researchers in the University of Texas found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster. Walnuts are a great source for healthy fats, including linolenic acid (ALA) an omega-3 fatty acid, these fatty acids may also help participate in healthy and better sleep.

Pumpkin seeds:

Pumpkin seeds are high in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, protein, zinc, and iron. One ounce of pumpkin seeds has 37% of your daily magnesium, a mineral associated with healthy sleep. Magnesium activates the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps calm the nervous system, reduce both physical and mental stress thus creating a mood for calmness which induces sleep. Pumpkin seeds also offer a natural source of tryptophan, research shows that 1 gram of tryptophan daily improves sleep. Zinc has shown to increase the levels of serotonin within the body therefore helping your sleep cycle. Studies have found that older adults have shown that magnesium supplementation can improve sleep quality and duration. The nutrient magnesium reduces stress alongside helping you sleep longer.

Kiwi:

Kiwis aren’t just good for boosting your immunity, they are low-calories and are a very nutritious fruit. Kiwis holds a high concentration of serotonin, which is a precursor (a substance from which another substance is formed) for the hormone melatonin. Several studies have shown that kiwi contains many medicinally useful compounds, including some antioxidants and serotonin which may prove to be valuable when treating sleep disorders. Since, kiwis are low in calories it makes for a good bedtime snack that both aids in fulfilling bedtime craving and helps you sleep better, because of their amazing qualities like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Additionally, kiwis possess several vitamins and minerals, some noteworthy ones are vitamins C and E as well as potassium and folate. A study that was conducted to determine whether the properties of kiwis had an impact on sleep which lasted for 4 weeks, according to this study it was found that the participants fell asleep 42% faster than when they didn’t eat kiwis before bedtime. Furthermore, the participants ability to sleep through the night without waking increased by 5%, and sleep time grew by a total of 13%.

Tart cherries and Tart cherry juice:

Tart cherries have a high concentration of melatonin and have also displayed anti-inflammatory characteristics that may be beneficial when it comes to improving sleep quality. Tart cherries are rich in four different sleep-regulating compounds: melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, and serotonin. Tart cherries offer a generous amount of important nutrients such a phosphorus and magnesium. Tart cherries are commonly known for being a rich source of the antioxidants like anthocyanins and flavonols. They are also well known for helping promote sleep, there have been a number of studies for its role in aiding the treatment of insomnia. There have been several studies that have revealed that participants that drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day, had an increase in their total hours of sleep. The sleep-promoting effects of tart cherry juice is due to its high volumes of melatonin, some researchers also believe that the antioxidants in tart cherries called polyphenols may also have some influence on its sleep regulating factors. Tart cherries make a good snack before bed because they are rich in fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin E. However, it should be noted that tart cherries do contain natural sugars so if you are diabetic or are sensitive to sugar, please consult with your doctor or physician or you can buy it from a brand that doesn’t add sugar into their tart cherries and their tart cherry juice.

Greek yoghurt:

Greek yoghurt contains an amino acid called tryptophan; after you eat foods that are rich in tryptophan, your body then converts it into two hormones, melatonin, and serotonin, which may promote a peaceful night’s sleep. Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium, protein, and vitamin B12, which are helpful for restful sleep. Tryptophan can help you feel drowsier and sleepier thus helping you unwind before going to bed. Greek yogurt is low in sugar but make sure to get a sugar free brand so that the sugar in it doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels therefore disrupting your quality of sleep. Greek yogurt may also be parted with some nuts like walnuts or almonds doubling the amazing qualities they have to offer in one small snack.

Honourable mentions: 

There are a lot of other foods that promote falling asleep and staying asleep such as tomatoes, which are high in phytonutrient lycopene, helping you stay asleep. Holy basil, which has long been used as a holistic remedy for people who have sleep troubles, it is one of the most scared plants in India and is considered the “queen of the herbs”. It has been used for thousands of years to support a healthy response to stress and it also aids in restoring one’s natural sleep cycle and calm an overactive mind, this is usually taken in the form of a tea. To maximize the benefits and to feel the maximum advantages that this sacred herb has to offer use 2 or 3 tea bags per cup of tea. Almonds may help boost your sleep quality because, similarly to walnuts and other nuts almonds are a source of melatonin. Banana itself contains a generous amount of magnesium and the skin of a banana contains tryptophan, both these properties as stated above may help and support longer and better quality of sleep. Oats are known to be a source of melatonin and it is reported that when oats are eaten before going to be it may induce drowsiness. Nutmeg has some healing properties that help relax your nerves, and help release serotonin which encourages sleep, having a glass of milk with some nutmeg can help with improving your sleeping conditions. Barley grass powder is high in a lot of sleep promoting compounds some including calcium, zinc, tryptophan, magnesium, GABA, and potassium. The qualities that barley grass powder holds makes it so that it is able to promote and encourage better sleep while simultaneously helping prevent a range of other health conditions. This is usually taken in smoothies, juices, soups, salad dressing, and scrambled eggs.

It may be possible to eat your way to a more peaceful and restful sleep, these are just some of the foods that encourages your body to slow down, relax and rest for the night after a long demanding day. All of these are both pro-sleep foods and they are also great foods for you to just incorporate into your day-to-day meals for a healthier lifestyle and healthier diet which in turn should help you fall asleep sounder than ever. Sleep is an important component to having a healthy body, your body needs to heal, restore, and rejuvenate itself from working overtime. Your body may sometimes need an extra hand to boost the functions of certain hormones and you can help your body by feeding it foods that will help those functions and help with aiding your body when it sometimes needs its and even if you think your body doesn’t need the extra boost it is still nice to fill it with healthy foods just in case. Some of the food’s mentions can be eaten together as a meal or together as a snack or they can be eaten by themselves but if they are eaten together, it would increase the great qualities and nutrients that you may be after. There are also some drinks that promotes sleep, those drinks will be covered in a different blog.

Khulsum Khanom
Khulsum Khanom


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