Foods that help you fall asleep fast
When you eat a big turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, you may remember hearing an old wives’ tale that turkey makes you sleepy. Perhaps it’s more than consuming that huge meal that makes you feel lethargic — it could actually also be the turkey, along with other holiday favorites!
There’s something in turkey called tryptophan, an amino acid that helps make you sleepy. But don’t worry — you don’t have to scarf down a whole turkey dinner to reap these benefits! A variety of foods contain tryptophan, along with other enzymes and hormones, that can help you fall asleep fast and hopefully stay asleep.
As you know if you’ve read our other articles, sleep affects every aspect of your health, including mental health. Fortunately, we can use some foods and drinks to help us to control our sleep cycles, meaning that we find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
I’ve already mentioned tryptophan in turkey, and there are many different chemicals, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones that work together to promote good sleep and regulate the sleep cycle. To name a few:
- B and D vitamins
- gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
I’ll start off by reminding you that eating a big meal before bedtime isn’t great for your sleep or your digestion. Giving yourself at least two hours between mealtime and bedtime gives your body the time to process the food and your metabolism to settle, because who wants to fall asleep to the sound of gurgling food in your belly? But this doesn’t mean we need to go to bed starving either. A small snack — the right kind of snack, that is — when needed may actually help a little in the sleep process.
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Here is a list of 4 foods that can help you fall asleep fast:
Almonds, cashews and walnuts: A quarter-cup serving of cashews delivers almost 20 percent of your daily magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is linked to sleep disorders as well as restless leg syndrome, which often likes to stir up at night and can make it difficult to fall asleep. Other great sources of magnesium include swiss chards, spinach, and seeds. You can read more about the importance of Magnesium in the article ‘Is Magnesium good for Sleep’.
- Kiwi is a great source of melatonin, which could make you fall asleep faster and sleep better through the night. It also contains a good deal of other sleep promoting compounds like flavonoids, folate and calcium.
- Tart cherries have been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce symptoms of insomnia. This is because they contain melatonin and other compounds that contribute to better sleep. You may want to try drinking a glass of tart cherry juice about an hour before bed, or you can add tart cherries to your protein smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt.
- Other fruits that are also good for sleep are pineapple and bananas. Keep the quantity of fruit to a minimum since they typically contain higher sugars.
Tuna, salmon and other fish like halibut have loads of vitamin B6, which is essential to making melatonin and serotonin. This recipe is a great simple and healthy for dinner time that includes Salmon and spinach– both great for promoting sleep. Pair it with rice ( white rice releases calming hormones like melatonin and serotonin that leads to relaxation and drowsiness) as an extra bonus!
It’s rich in calcium, and research suggests that including calcium in your diet can make it easier to fall asleep and lead to more productive sleep. Yogurt also contains protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and magnesium, which can all contribute to sounder sleep. Additionally, yogurt contains gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter that helps calm the body in preparation for sleep. But make sure you watch the sugar content of your yogurt — some yogurts have added sugar so plain and preferably Greek yogurt is the best. Check out here for a great homemade Greek yogurt recipe!
4 drinks to help you sleep at night:
- Warm Milk
- Valerian Tea
- Goji berry juice
- Chamomile Tea
Fun fact: If you can have a warm beverage before bedtime, it will raise your body temperature, then your body has to work to cool back down which then can trigger sleepiness!
Try Yogi Tea that has Valerian, Chamomile and Passionflower that all promotes sleepiness
Here is 4 types of foods and drinks to avoid before bed:
- Sweets and Excessive Carbohydrates
- Fatty, Spicy, and Acidic Foods
To help leading up to bedtime it’s best to try to avoid missing meals, and stay hydrated. If you do find yourself getting hungry before bed, try just having a small snack with some of the foods mentioned above. You can incorporate this into your bedtime routine as well!
We could start a whole new website all about how food affects your health, so it makes sense that it can have an effect on your sleep, too! Everyone does their best to make good food choices, so hopefully this article helps you to make healthy choices for your sleep as well.
Please let me know what your favorite bedtime snack is in the comment section below