Food and sleep: they’re both crucial for our wellbeing. You just can’t muster that main character energy you need to get the most out of your day if you’re worn out and hangry.
You probably know that sleep plays a super important role in reducing stress, avoiding weight gain and maintaining your general wellbeing.
But did you know that you can eat your way to a night of better sleep? The stuff you put on your plate can make a massive difference to your sleep quality. In this article we’ll lay out the best foods to include in your meals and snacks, so you can have a next level sleep—starting tonight.
8 Foods That Help You Sleep
These foods contain sleep-happy nutrients that support your body to get the shut-eye you need and balance your energy throughout the day as well.
It’s not the same as taking a sleeping pill, fam. You can eat these healthy foods at any time of the day*, but incorporating them into your evening meals and snacks is going to set you up for a good quality sleep.
*That being said—if you are finding yourself inexplicably sleepy throughout the day, it might be worth checking how many of these foods you’re including in your morning and afternoon meals.
Our water-dwelling friends have some goodness going on:
- Vitamin B6 aids melatonin (the sleepy hormone) production;
- The healthy fat Omega 3 DHA is associated with better sleep, and helps release serotonin (the good mood hormone);
- Fish is high in protein, which supports good quality sleep.
Choose fresh salmon (always a crowd pleaser), New Zealand Blue Cod, tuna, halibut or mackerel. Remember: the more oily the fish, the more it’s going to help when your head hits the pillow.
Feeling… tense? A handful of almonds could be your ticket to snoozeville:
- High in magnesium (a miracle mineral that supports your circadian rhythm and promotes sleep and muscle relaxation—among other things);
- Almonds stabilise your blood sugar levels for a better quality sleep;
- They contain other minerals that support sleep and energy levels, like niacin and calcium.
Chomping down a few almonds is a quick and easy way to get those slumber-loving nutrients into your body, where they do their best work.
✔ Jasmine Rice
Want to fall asleep faster? All white rice is associated with inducing sleep, but jasmine rice takes it to the next level:
- The high glycemic index triggers serotonin production (remember: the good mood hormone);
- Jasmine rice contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with melatonin.
Enjoy some jasmine rice around 4 hours before bedtime for the best results.
*Note: high GI foods are not good for people living with diabetes, so if that’s you—skip this one!
✔ Hard Boiled Eggs
A little ball with a protein punch, eggs are high in:
- Tryptophan, which makes your body more ready for sleep;
- Melatonin, which helps you fall asleep more efficiently;
- Vitamin D, which contributes to a better quality sleep.
Hard-boiled eggs also help stabilise blood sugar. Eat an egg an hour or two before bed and you’ll find yourself sleeping soundly through the night.
Tip: Hard-boil 5 eggs at a time so that you have one ready every night of the working week!
The pocket rocket snack that will launch you into a good night’s sleep, bananas are packed with:
- Magnesium, for muscle relaxation
- Tryptophan, for the sleepy feeling
- Potassium, for improved sleep quality
These nutrients all work together to support melatonin production, but you’ll also benefit from relaxed muscles and reduced cramps!
Wanna make it weird? Some people boil banana skins to make “sleepy tea”. It’s legit. Why don’t you try that, and let us know how it goes.
Cherries are basically the CEO of superfoods. They help regulate your metabolism, boost your immunity and fight inflammation. They also help you sleep.
- Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, that sleep hormone we keep talking about;
- They also contain tryptophan, the amino acid that we keep talking about;
- With magnesium and vitamin C in there too, you can’t go wrong with cherries.
Cherries can help you get the most out of your day as well: studies have linked tart cherry juice with improved endurance.
If there’s one green you should be eating, spinach is it. Each little leaf contains:
- Potassium; and
All of which help to keep your circadian rhythm performing optimally.
Tip: Turn to another leafy green like kale if you’re after an alternative.
The perfect winter warmer and comfort food!
- Oatmeal is a natural source of melatonin
- It contains carbohydrates, which help you fall asleep more quickly
Prepare your oatmeal with milk, and you’ll get the added benefits of calcium, which also helps you sleep better!
If you're still finding it difficult to reach snoozeville, you might want to consider the rest of your sleep environment.