10 Foods That Help You Sleep

Having trouble sleeping can really take a toll on your health, which is precisely why Sleep Deep is one the pillars of living a Nutritious Life. In this fast-paced world we live in, getting your zzz’s can be a challenge sometimes, and knowing exactly which levers to pull to improve your sleep can be a mystery. 

Let’s take a look at everything you’ve probably already tried so far: 

  • You banished your phone from your bedroom. 
  • You swore off sugary treats post-dinner.  
  • You added essential oils to your bedtime routine for a touch of sleepy-time aromatherapy.  
  • You even have the most comfy Essentia bed ever.

Yet, you still can’t get enough shut-eye—and it’s annoying. Really annoying. Your lids are shutting mid-meeting and you’re wasting cash on workouts you’ve signed up for and skipped. You just don’t feel your best.

Well, guess what? We’ve got a little secret for you…

Science tells us that just like there are healthy foods that help you feel energized and ready to take on the world, there are also foods that help you sleep, which means you will indeed be able to take on the world the next day. 

Eating more and sleeping more? Sounds like a beautiful thing to us.

10 Foods that Help You Sleep

1. Almonds + Cashews

These go-to nuts contain magnesium, a mineral which acts like a natural sedative. Even a small deficiency in magnesium can lead to trouble in the sleep department.

Try one slice of Ezekiel toast with two teaspoons of almond or cashew butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon as an afternoon snack.

2. Apricots

Not only pretty and deliciously tangy-tart, they’re chock full of vitamin C which can help relieve stress. Vitamin C-rich foods have been shown to help your body recover faster from stress, and fewer rattled nerves may mean a mellower slumber.

Try two dried apricots (sans sugar and sulfur) cut up and added to your afternoon Greek yogurt. Be mindful of the higher calorie count of dried and go for fresh if you have trouble controlling portions.

3. Asparagus

These green stalks are famous for helping us beat the bloat but they are also high in folate. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system and a deficiency of it has been linked to anxiety and mood regulation, both which can affect our slumber.

Drizzle a little avocado oil over a few stalks, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and pop in the oven at 400°F for about 15 min. Top with a drop of balsamic vinegar. YUM.

4. Bananas

Sweet and creamy, this fruit is a source of melatonin, a sleep hormone, as well as potassium, which helps normalize heartbeat.

Try banana “ice cream” (pureed frozen bananas) topped with one tablespoon chopped peanuts for a perfect night time sweet fix.

5. Chamomile Tea

Made from a tiny European flower in the daisy family, this tea, with its soothing mild flavor, is an age-old remedy for soothing yourself to sleep. Some health experts insist it can be more effective than sleep medications.

Get in the habit of sipping slowly a cuppa chamomile nightly with a drop of steamed almond milk.

RELATED: Sleep Procrastination: What It Is and How To Stop Doing It, Pronto!

6. Cheese

Particularly swiss or cheddar, cheese is a good source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that encourages the release of melatonin. The hormone melatonin helps to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, increases sleepiness, and may also increase the amount of time you spend asleep.

An anytime-snack is one ounce of cheddar and apple slices.

7. Nutmeg

The smell screams “apple pie,” but researchers have shown that nutmeg improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and it’s also earned a reputation as a home remedy for menstrual cramps and anxiety.

Sprinkle nutmeg on your morning oatmeal or afternoon apple.

8. Popcorn

Carbohydrates make tryptophan, an amino acid important for sleep, more available to the brain. Popcorn is a whole grain and packed with fiber, so you digest these carbs more steadily, making it a perfect night time snack.

Air pop this movie-time fave and sprinkle on a little Parmesan cheese, cinnamon, or sea salt and pepper for amped-up flavor in your popcorn bowl.

9. Tart Cherries

Considered a symbol of immortality in ancient China, this fruit is loaded with anthocyanins, an important type of antioxidant that lowers inflammation, as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels. But they’re sleeping beauties, too, since cherries are a natural source of melatonin.

Mix one tablespoon dried tart cherries with one tablespoon sunflower seeds to use as an oatmeal topper or anytime snack. Or, simply sip some tart cherry juice before hitting the sack.

10. Salmon

Scientists are also studying the effects of omega-3 supplementation because these wonderful fatty acids are not only the building blocks of the brain, there’s also evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can fight depression, improve sleep, and boost libido.

Salmon is super versatile and can be enjoyed any time of day. Go cured or raw and enjoy a lox breakfast or sashimi lunch, or try it dehydrated as jerky for an on-the-go snack. Or pop it in the oven with some lemon and dill for a quick and healthy dinner. 

So there you have it: 10 foods that help you sleep better, which gives you energy to work out the next day, motivates you to eat healthier and stay hydrated, helps you stress less and nurture yourself, and helps you love more and live consciously. 

And that, dear friends, is living your most Nutritious Life.

Take Your Hunger for Nutrition Knowledge to the Next Level

If you love learning about the best foods to eat for sleep and overall wellness, think of how awesome it would be to learn and share all about nutrition as a side hustle… or even your full-time job.

Our Become a Nutrition Coach certification course gives you a solid foundation in nutrition science, plus techniques for coaching clients and growing your new business—all within a community of passionate, like-minded friends. It’s the perfect way to inspire the next generation of healthier people all across the globe.

Request a sneak peek of the Become a Nutrition Coach program here and see how you can put your passion for wellness to work.

About Nutritious Life Editors

The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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