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Sleep Hygiene Tip of the Week: Foods that can help you sleep better

In December the discussion focused primarily on foods, drinks and eating habits that may make it difficult to sleep well. Today SHC turns to comestibles that may actually help you to fall asleep. After scouring several sources, we’ve arrived at the following list of most popular sleep-enhancing foods.

These contain maintain vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are useful for encouraging sleepiness, including magnesium, selenium,  tryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, theanine, lycopene, vitamin C, and melatonin. Others boost glucose or glycine levels to promote sleep. Still others help to prevent other problems, like heartburn or hot flashes.

Remember, heavy, high-fat, high-acid meals right before bedtime are still a No No. But a small bite of some of these items below may help push you over the edge of sleepiness.

Here are some options, in no particular order, with notes about why they might be helpful.

Almonds (magnesium, selenium, tryptophan, calcium)
Bananas (vitamin B6, magnesium, tryptophan)
Breakfast cereal with milk (calcium, vitamin B6)
Chamomile tea (glycine boost)
Coldwater fish like halibut, tuna and salmon (vitamin B6, selenium)
Dairy products (calcium, tryptophan)
Dark chocolate (serotonin)
Decaffeinated green tea (theanine)
Edamame (natural estrogen compounds)
Eggs (tryptophan)
Elk meat (tryptophan)
Grapefruit (lycopene, vitamin C)
Grapes (melatonin)
Greens, such as mustard, kale and spinach (calcium, vitamin C, magnesium)
Honey (high glycemic index)
Hummus or chickpeas (vitamin B6, tryptophan)
Jasmine rice (high glycemic index)
Lemon Balm tea (terpenoids)
Lettuce (lactucarium) — try this lettuce tea from Reader’s Digest
Miso soup (amino acids that boost melatonin)
Oatmeal (magnesium, calcium, melatonin)
Oranges (tryptophan, vitamin C)
Papaya (lycopene, vitamin C)
Passionfruit tea (Harman alkaloids)
Peanut butter on whole-grain crackers (tryptophan)
Pineapple (tryptophan, vitamin C)
Pumpkin seeds (tryptophan)
Shrimp or lobster (tryptophan, selenium)
Strawberries (vitamin C)
Tart cherries, cherry juice, dried cherries (melatonin)
Turkey (tryptophan, selenium)
Tomatoes (lycopene)
Walnuts (melatonin, selenium)
Watermelon (lycopene)
Whole grains (magnesium, selenium


Sources consulted:

AARP Foods That Can Help You Sleep
Cleveland Clinic Health Hub 5 Foods That Help You Sleep
Eating Well 9 foods to help you sleep
Good Housekeeping 10 Foods That Make You Sleepy and 10 That Keep You Up
Health.com 4 Nutrients to Help You Sleep Better
Organic Gardening 9 Foods to Help You Sleep
PopSugar Skip the Sleeping Pills with These 15 Sleep-Inducing Foods
Reader’s Digest 16 Foods That Help You Asleep
US News The Best Foods for Sleep
Women’s Day 10 Foods That Can Help You Sleep

SleepyHeadCENTRAL strongly encourages people with ongoing sleep health problems to approach a medical professional to determine appropriate differential diagnoses and treatment. This post, like all other posts on SHC, is not intended to substitute for medical advice.  

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