Foods that Promote Sleep

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Alright, y’all… By now, I’m sure we all know how much I love sleep. To quote a famous ‘rapper’ of today, “I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry.” Well, Drake, you sure did get it right, at least “only partly,” because I do love my momma, but sleep and food are the loves my life… And I ain’t sorry. Now imagine how crazy excited I get when I get to combine the two things I love most – food and sleep… It’s a party over here!

Just as there are certain techniques/stretches – whatever you want to call it – you can complete before bed to mentally prepare yourself for sleep, there are certain foods that can also aid in the process. You’d be surprised to learn that these foods are so easy to incorporate into your dinner routine, that you’ll be sure to stop at the store on your way home from work today just to try something new.

First up: lettuce, kale, or other leafy greens. These foods are rich in calcium which is what a lot of us need today. Not only is calcium good for our bones, but there is research to prove that a calcium deficiency makes is difficult to sleep. I would recommend trying a kale salad, or just mixing some kale into a regular salad. Eating leafy greens at least twice a week was shown to boost calcium number up, so why not give it a try?

leafy greens

While we are on the topic of salads, why not add a few extra things to top it off? Perhaps some walnuts or almonds – maybe not together, but it will definitely add some variation to your salad. Plus, both walnuts and almonds contain the hormone melatonin. This hormone is known to regulate your sleep and wake cycle, so a little natural intake can’t hurt. While you’re at it, why not add some cottage, or maybe even string, cheese in the mix? Both are lean in protein, and contain tryptophan (an amino acid). This amino acid will increase the serotonin levels in your brain. We want higher serotonin levels as low levels will contribute to insomnia. A great natural ‘cure’ for insomnia is fruits such as berries, prunes, plums, and even raisins. These fruits are rich in antioxidants which promotes healthy sleeping habits. There have been studies conducted that show that eating two kiwis before bed increase your sleep duration. Talk about a miracle fruit, huh?
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If a salad doesn’t float your boat, then how about trying some seafood? Fish such as tuna, salmon, and halibut are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 allows the body to naturally produce melatonin and serotonin. Other foods that are high in B6 include raw garlic (okay, but we’re still going to cook with it, rather than eat it raw… yuck!) and pistachio nuts (get the non-salted ones! Trust me, they still taste great, and you won’t have to worry about sending your blood pressure up).


If none of the above sounds like your cup of tea, try actually drinking a warm cup of tea! Of course, you’ll want something non-caffeinated to help you relax and unwind after a long day. Research has shown that drinking a cup of tea before bed increases the amount of glycine in the brain. Glycine is a chemical that is supposed to relax the muscles and nerves in the body which will allow you to fall asleep in a shorter time frame. The best types of teas to invest in are ginger, chamomile, and/or lavender. Just as a cup of tea help relax the mind and body, a cup of warm milk also gets the job done.

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Another alternative if you are looking for something a little less healthy would be hummus. Not only is this treat yummy and filling, but it also contains the neurotransmitter tryptophan which is the predecessor to serotonin. A few other alternatives are oatmeal and yogurt; by eating either or, you are naturally raising your blood sugar which in turn will make you feel sleepy. And, of course, my personal favorite: dark chocolate. Dark chocolate, too, contains serotonin which help your muscles relax, and let’s not forget about its other health benefits.
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It is important to be mindful of what we are eating and what time of day we are eating said food. On that note, learn about the food that you are consuming – will they benefit you or will they cause more harm? What is best to eat at dinner time because it promotes sleep or what will assist you in pulling an all nighter?

For more information on food that promote sleep, please see the following:


For more information on sleep apnea, please see:



  1. Thanks for the info .. Recently, I Really am battling to sleep … A while back, iv “become aware of’ my being lactose intolerant ( no more dairy / calcium) and have realized that this could well be the reason

    • says:

      I am sorry to hear that, but there are other ways to increase your calcium intake. The leafy greens are a big help in that department. There are also vitamins that you can take to help. As for sleep, I would recommend a cup of warm tea before bed. Try it out and see if it helps!

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