5 Foods to eat for a good night’s sleep

August 11, 2020 4 mins read
5 Foods to eat for a good night’s sleep

The solution to your sleep problems just might be filling your plate with the right type of foods for good sleep. Treating insomnia is not only limited to taking medication, listening to white noise, and doing relaxing activities before bed. You also need to consider your diet.

As it turns out, the foods you eat can influence your sleep quality, and there are specific foods that can help you get a good night’s sleep. There may be many factors beyond your control, but you can change your diet to improve sleep.

Want to know what food to eat for good sleep? Then continue reading below.

Best foods for good sleep

So, which foods can help you improve sleep and get more rest? We have put together a list of five foods that when added to your diet, can help improve the quality of your sleep and overall sleep hygiene. They are:

1. Fatty Fish

Eating fatty fish like salmon or mackerel can help the body regulate serotonin levels thanks to the omega 3 and vitamin D content.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is important for mood regulation and sleep. Ensuring that the brain makes enough serotonin is important to help you wind down at night.

Most types of fish contain vitamin B6, which is important for the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles.

2. Nuts

Not only do nuts contain a lot of healthy fats but almonds and walnuts actually contain melatonin. Increasing your blood levels of melatonin by adding these nuts to your diet can help you fall asleep at night. Nuts also contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin.

The combination of protein, fibre, and healthy fats in nuts will help with blood sugar regulation throughout the night. Experiencing blood sugar crashes while asleep can wake you up at night and make it difficult to go to sleep again.

3. Herbal teas

While it is best to avoid teas that contain caffeine before bed, caffeine-free herbal teas are popular natural insomnia remedies. It is not only the ritual of having a warm cup of tea before bed that is relaxing. Examples of herbal teas that many include in their diet to improve sleep include passionflower, lavender, valerian root, lemon balm, and chamomile.

Chamomile is one of the most popular choices. It contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which is thought to have a relaxing effect on the body.

Lavender’s smell alone is very relaxing for a lot of people. Smelling the lavender aroma as you sip your tea can help you calm down and get ready to go to bed.

4. Oats and grains

Did you know that eating carbohydrates can help tryptophan to reach your brain much easier? Carbs help to increase tryptophan availability in the bloodstream. Consuming carbohydrates from healthy sources like sweet potato, pumpkin, fruit, oats and other whole grains can, therefore, help the body to produce enough serotonin for good sleep.

It is best to pair healthy sources of carbohydrates with high-protein foods containing tryptophan like nuts, eggs, chicken, dairy products and fish.

5. Dairy

There is a reason why many opt for a glass of warm milk when they struggle to sleep. Some dairy products, like milk and cheese, are sources of tryptophan. Dairy products are also good sources of carbohydrates, which means that when having dairy before bed, you are getting the ideal tryptophan and carbohydrate combination to improve sleep.

The calcium found in dairy products is also known to aid rest and relaxation.

Food to avoid before bed

A poor diet can keep you up at night. There are some beverages and foods to avoid before bed, as they can interfere with sleep. These include foods and beverages that are high in sugar like cakes, cookies, sweets, milkshakes, and fizzy drinks. Also avoid caffeine from sources like coffee, energy drinks and chocolate.

Poor digestion can keep you up at night, so you should avoid eating a heavy meal before bed. Foods that cause indigestion differ from person to person. Some struggle to digest gluten, while others might struggle to digest dairy, vegetable oils, eggs, spicy food, etc.

Which bedtime snacks promote sleep?

Considering the information above, some good food options to have at night include:

  • Scrambled eggs with a slice of wholegrain bread
  • Yoghurt with low-sugar granola
  • A few slices of cheese and a piece of fruit
  • A bowl of wholegrain cereal and milk
  • A handful (or two) of nuts
  • Sardines on wholegrain toast

Other ways to improve sleep

While changing your diet is important, there are many more lifestyle changes that can improve sleep quality, such as staying active, avoiding digital screens before bed, and having a good pre-bed routine.

Put these foods for good sleep on your shopping list. You can start experimenting and adding them to your diet and reap the benefits that come from good eating and good sleep.