18 Foods That Help You Fall and Stay Asleep

Adequate sleep is good for your physical and mental health. Falling asleep can be hard for some people and others may find difficulty staying asleep for long. A good diet can help you get enough rest. This article looks at 18 foods that you may incorporate into your diet for better sleep.

Almonds

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Eating almonds boosts your sleep quality. They contain magnesium, a mineral that regulates sleep. A study in the National Institutes of Health tells us these nuts also have healthy fats and melatonin, which help maintain your sleep-wake cycle, ensuring a restful night. A small handful of almonds before bed can be beneficial for those struggling to stay asleep.

Bananas

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Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which serve as natural muscle relaxants. Increased relaxation enables you to sleep better. The minerals in bananas also boost your body’s ability to convert tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that improves your sleep. Eating a banana at dinner or before bed can help you drift off more easily.

Turkey

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Including turkey in your dinner could be beneficial to a better night’s sleep. It has a high tryptophan content, which makes you feel tired and sleepy. The protein in turkey also helps control your blood sugar levels, preventing disruptions during sleep. 

Pumpkin Seeds

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Pumpkin seeds are another excellent source of magnesium, zinc, and tryptophan, all of which help improve sleep quality. Magnesium relaxes muscles and nerves, promoting a sense of calmness conducive to sleep. Additionally, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, hormones that regulate sleep-wake cycles.

Chamomile Tea

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Chamomile tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that reduces anxiety and promotes sleep. As it’s naturally free from caffeine, this tea is perfect for evening consumption. Drinking chamomile tea is an effective way to wind down before bed, setting you up for a calm and restful sleep.

Kiwi

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Kiwi fruits are not only delicious but also rich in serotonin. The Cleveland Clinic says serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you sleep better and longer. Serotonin also aids in the production of the melatonin hormone, and it improves mood, making you feel calmer and fall asleep easily.

Walnuts

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You may eat walnuts as a snack, in a sandwich, or with fruit, cereal, or yogurt if you suffer from insomnia. Walnuts contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts into serotonin and melatonin, which help regulate sleep. Moreover, they provide healthy fats that support heart health.

Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is a comforting, nutrient-rich food that positively affects sleep quality. It contains melatonin and complex carbohydrates, which increase serotonin levels in the body. Oatmeal is also high in fiber, which regulates blood sugar levels and aids in weight management. A healthy weight is good for better sleep patterns.

Valerian Root

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Valerian root is a natural herb often used as a sleep aid. It contains compounds that calm the brain and body, helping you fall asleep faster. Some studies suggest it may improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before using valerian root regularly.

Popcorn

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If prepared healthily, popcorn can be a great evening snack. It’s high in carbohydrates that help increase serotonin levels, a key hormone for good sleep. However, avoid heavily buttered or flavored varieties, as they may contain excess sugar and fat, which can disrupt sleep. 

Passionflower Tea

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Passionflower tea is an herbal remedy originating from the tropical regions of the Americas. It’s renowned for its calming and sleep-inducing properties. Passionflower tea increases GABA levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety. It’s also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, with several benefits, including stress reduction and improved mood.

Tart Cherry Juice

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Studies show that the intake of tart cherry juice enables you to sleep faster, longer, and better. It contains melatonin and tryptophan, which regulate sleep. Additionally, it contains several health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to improve immune function. The juice is sour, but only a small amount is required to gain its benefits.

Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which increase serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin helps regulate sleep and mood. Plus, sweet potatoes contain potassium, which relaxes muscles and nerves, promoting better sleep quality. This can be a delicious addition to your meals to help you sleep better.

Cottage Cheese

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Cottage cheese is a great nighttime snack for individuals with sleep problems. It contains casein protein and tryptophan. Casein provides a slow release of amino acids overnight, supporting muscle repair and growth. Tryptophan, on the other hand, helps produce serotonin, a precursor to the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.

Fatty Fish

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According to the Sleep Doctor, regular consumption of fatty fish improves your sleep quality and enhances your performance in the day. Fatty fish like salmon or mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. These nutrients are also shown to support serotonin production in children and adults.

Barley Grass Powder

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Barley grass powder is loaded with sleep-supporting vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium. Magnesium helps relax muscles and nerves, promoting sleep. Additionally, barley grass powder is a good source of antioxidants and vitamins, which may contribute to overall health. It boosts immune function, detoxifies the body, and aids digestion. 

Greek Yogurt

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Combine Greek yogurt with some honey or nuts for a satisfying pre-sleep snack. It contains calcium, which helps the brain produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Additionally, Greek yogurt is rich in protein, which can prevent hunger pangs at night, promoting uninterrupted sleep. Opt for plain Greek yogurt to avoid added sugars that may disrupt sleep. 

Lettuce

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Lettuce has mild sedative properties due to the substance lactucarium, which promotes sleep. It’s also light and easy to digest, making it a perfect late-night salad ingredient. Try having a small lettuce salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of vinegar to induce sleepiness.

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