Shutterstock 673846108

11 Foods to Help You Sleep: Snack Your Way to Better Sleep

21st January 2020

Slumber Centre

Food, glorious food! As if we didn’t love it enough already, now there’s even more reason to grab a snack, with our top foods to help you sleep. Because we all love a bedtime treat as much as we love an early night…

Foods to help you sleep

1. Almonds

If you’re looking for a quick and easy late night snack, almonds are the one. Rich in tryptophan and magnesium – the stuff that helps muscles relax – a small handful of almonds before bed will do wonders for your sleep.

Almonds are high in protein too, so they’ll keep hunger pangs at arm’s length helping you sleep soundly all night long.

2. Nut butter

Peanut butter is a high protein foodstuff that we’ve seen become uber-trendy in recent years as we become a nation of health-conscious eaters.

It’s the high protein values of peanut butter that make it a great choice for a pre-sleep snack, as the protein works hard to get tryptophan to the brain.

A slice of peanut butter on toast is all the supper you need.

3. Turkey

This one might surprise you, but turkey is another food jam-packed with tryptophan, and, therefore, more likely to improve the quality of your sleep over other foods. This explains why we feel sleepy after our Christmas Day dinner, too!

So, if you’ve got leftovers hanging about in the fridge, be sure to make good use of them with a turkey based bedtime snack.

4. Herbal teas

Many people turn to herbal teas before bed to help them feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.

The most well-known of all the sleep-inducing teas is chamomile tea. Chamomile contains apigenin – an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory – which works as a mild sedative.

When it comes to other herbs and natural remedies, lavender is up there as one of the most popular for promoting sleep too. Usually found in candles and lotions, it can also be whipped up into a cup of lavender tea, making it another great bedtime beverage.

5. Dark chocolate

Because you can never have enough excuses to eat chocolate, here’s another one for you!

Magnesium plays a big part in keeping our sleep cycles in order and can be found in abundance in green leafy vegetables, bananas, nuts, avocados and, yep, you guessed it… dark chocolate.

That late-night hot chocolate might not be a bad idea after all…

6. Bananas

More commonly associated with giving us energy, the humble banana is here to prove its worth once again – this time as a bedtime hero.

Full of potassium and magnesium, these two nutrients offer the ultimate duo when night time comes around. Magnesium helps the muscles relax and prepare for sleep, whilst potassium is linked to reducing disturbed sleep. Try banana dipped in peanut butter for the ultimate bedtime snack!

7. Watermelon

Another magnesium-filled fruit is the watermelon. But that’s not the only thing it’s boosting… The clue is in the name, with this particular fruit having a high percentage of water.

While we wouldn’t recommend eating large amounts before bed – due to unwanted bathroom trips during the night – we would recommend making sure you’re hydrated, as this has been proven to aid your overall sleep quality.

8. Kiwi

High in antioxidants and serotonin, kiwifruit is an unsung hero when it comes to promoting sleep.

It’s believed that serotonin not only has links to our moods, digestion, and cardiovascular functions but also to our sleep cycles too. As a result, kiwis can aid us in falling asleep, as well as reducing disturbances in our sleep.

9. Cherries

This fruity treat is full of melatonin making it one of the best natural sleep aids around. As the hormone responsible for letting the brain know when it’s time to sleep and time to wake up, foods like cherries make for a great bedtime snack.

A handful of fresh cherries or even a glass of tart cherry juice an hour before bed can be all you need for a better night’s sleep.

10. Fish

Fish is not only tasty, but super healthy, too! Salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel all have high contents of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids – both linked to improving sleep quality.

If you’re not keen on eating fish before bed, try introducing these types of fish into your diet on a regular basis to help you fall asleep quicker.

11. Yogurt

Yogurt is full of calcium, which, as we all know, makes for strong bones. But that’s not all. Calcium has also been linked to promoting a better sleep quality. So if you fancy a bit of yogurt before bed, tuck right in!

We’d recommend a plain yogurt with a handful of fresh fruit – cherries or banana would make a great choice!

The bottom line is, whilst no one food is going to change the world when it comes to getting to sleep quicker, having an overall healthy and balanced diet is an important part of any sleep routine, and keeping fried food, alcohol and caffeine to a minimum will help, too.

Next time you fancy a bedtime snack, try opting for one of our favourite foods to help you sleep instead!