18 Foods That Help You Fall and Stay Asleep

Achieving a good night’s sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. While various factors contribute to sleep quality, diet plays a crucial role. Here are 18 foods that can help you fall asleep quickly and maintain restful sleep, along with detailed explanations of how they work.

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#1. Almonds

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Almonds are not just a nutritious snack; they’re also a sleep-inducing powerhouse. Packed with magnesium, almonds help relax muscles and regulate sleep. Additionally, they contain melatonin, a hormone that signals to the body that it’s time to wind down. Including almonds in your evening routine, whether as a standalone snack or mixed into yogurt or oatmeal, can promote deeper and more restful sleep.

Source: Nutrition Breakthroughs

#2. Turkey

Close up view of holiday dinner table set with roasted turkey and vegetables
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Turkey is renowned for its rich tryptophan content and subsequently melatonin, both essential for sleep regulation. Tryptophan acts as a natural sedative, making you feel calm and sleepy after a meal. Enjoying roasted turkey breast or turkey meatballs for dinner can help you drift off into a peaceful slumber.

Source: Sleep Foundation

#3. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea
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Chamomile tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that attaches to certain receptors in the brain, encouraging relaxation and drowsiness. For centuries, it has served as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety. Consuming a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed can help soothe your mind and ready your body for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Source: Medical News Today

#4. Kiwi

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Kiwi is both delicious and full of nutrients that support sleep. It is high in antioxidants such as vitamin C and serotonin, which aid in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Research indicates that consuming kiwi before bedtime can enhance sleep onset, duration, and efficiency. Incorporating kiwi into your evening routine, whether as a sliced snack or blended into a smoothie may make you fall asleep more quickly and maintain restful sleep throughout the night.

Source: Healthline

#5. Tart Cherry Juice

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Tart cherries are among the rare natural sources of melatonin, a hormone that monitors the sleep-wake cycle. Consuming tart cherry juice before bedtime can elevate melatonin levels in the body, fostering deeper and more restorative sleep. In addition, tart cherry juice is high in its antioxidant percentage that helps to reduce inflammation and enhance overall sleep quality.

Source: Sleep Foundation

#6. Fatty Fish

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Fatty fish including tuna, salmon, and mackerel are abundant in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids both crucial for managing sleep patterns. Omega-3s help increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and sleep. In addition, vitamin D deficiency is directly linked to sleep disorders, so including fatty fish in your diet can improve sleep quality.

Source: Psychology Today

#7. Walnuts

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Walnuts are a great source of melatonin, magnesium, and healthy fats, all of which contribute to better sleep quality. Melatonin helps monitor the sleep-wake cycle, while magnesium helps relax muscles and nerves, promoting deeper sleep. The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in walnuts can also increase the production of serotonin, further enhancing their sleep-inducing properties.

Source: Medical News Today

#8. Milk

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Warm milk has long been suggested as a natural aid for sleep, and rightfully so. It contains tryptophan, an amino acid converted by the body into serotonin and then melatonin, both vital for sleep regulation. Additionally, milk is rich in calcium, aiding the brain in utilizing tryptophan to produce melatonin. Drinking a warm glass of milk before bedtime can help you unwind and prepare for a peaceful night’s rest.

Source: Healthline

#9. Bananas

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Bananas are not only delicious but also jam-packed with nutrients that promote sleep. They’re rich in potassium and magnesium, which help relax muscles and nerves, making it easier to fall asleep. Bananas also comes with tryptophan, an amino acid that the body transforms into serotonin and then melatonin, both of which regulate sleep. Incorporating bananas into your evening routine, whether sliced as a snack or blended into a smoothie, can help improve sleep quality.

Source: Healthline

#10. Oatmeal

Person Holding a Wooden Spoon in a Glass Jar with Oatmeal
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Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that helps increase the availability of tryptophan in the bloodstream, promoting relaxation and sleepiness. It also contains melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and promotes deeper sleep. Indulging in a warm bowl of oatmeal before bedtime, garnished with sliced bananas or a hint of honey, can aid in unwinding and readying yourself for sleep.

Source: Zego Foods

#11. White Rice

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White rice naturally has a high glycemic index, meaning it can raise blood sugar levels relatively quickly. This can boost the release of insulin, which helps tryptophan enter the brain more easily, where it’s converted into serotonin and then melatonin. Including white rice in your evening meal, paired with lean protein and vegetables, can help promote relaxation and sleep.

Source: Yahoo Lifestyle

#12. Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese
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Cottage cheese is an ideal source of casein protein, which is digested slowly and can offer a consistent release of amino acids over the course of the night. This can help prevent nighttime awakenings due to hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels. Enjoying cottage cheese as a snack before bed, paired with fruit or whole-grain crackers, can help you feel satisfied and promote better sleep.

Source: Shape

#13. Honey

Honey dipper placed on saucer with lemon slice
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Honey comprises glucose and fructose, elements that may assist in stabilizing blood sugar levels overnight, averting sleep disturbances caused by hunger or sudden drops in blood sugar. It also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts into serotonin and then melatonin, both of which regulate sleep. Drizzling honey over yogurt or oatmeal before bed, or enjoying a spoonful as a sweet treat, can help promote relaxation and sleepiness.

Source: BetterSleep.com

#14. Passionflower Tea

Passion Flower
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Passionflower tea comprises compounds such as apigenin, which exhibit sedative properties and may alleviate anxiety while inducing relaxation prior to sleep. Drinking a warm cup of passionflower tea in the evening can aid in soothing your mind and readying your body for sleep.

Source: Healthline

#15. Hummus

Hummus with fresh vegetables, healthy vegetarian food concept, top view
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Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts into serotonin and then melatonin, both of which regulate sleep. Enjoying hummus as a dip with vegetables or whole-grain crackers before bed can help promote relaxation and sleepiness. Alternatively, use hummus as a spread on sandwiches or wraps for a light and nutritious evening meal.

Source: Casper

#16. Potatoes

Mashed potatoes on plate, ripe potatoes in burlap bag in background. Culinary potato eating.
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Potatoes provide potassium, aiding in muscle and nerve relaxation, thus facilitating improved sleep. In addition, they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body metabolizes into serotonin and subsequently melatonin, both crucial for regulating sleep patterns. Enjoying roasted or mashed potatoes as part of your evening meal can help promote relaxation and prepare your body for sleep.

Source: HUM Nutrition

#17. Spinach

Cutting board with spinach, dough and other pasta ingredients. Top view of the kitchen counter.
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Spinach is abundant in magnesium, a mineral known for its muscle and nerve-relaxing properties, thereby enhancing sleep quality. Further, it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that undergoes conversion into serotonin and subsequently melatonin, pivotal in regulating sleep patterns. Incorporating spinach into your evening meal, whether in salads, soups, or stir-fries, can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.

Source: Vegetarian Times

#18. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate
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Dark chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine, which can help improve alertness and focus during the day. However, it also contains serotonin precursors that can promote relaxation and sleepiness when consumed in moderation. Enjoying a small piece of dark chocolate as a dessert after dinner can satisfy your sweet tooth and help you relax before bedtime.

Source: The Good Chocolatier

Disclaimer – This list is solely the author’s opinion based on research and publicly available information. It is not intended to be professional advice.

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