​5 Foods to help you sleep

Mar 01 2021

​5 Foods to help you sleep

Trouble sleeping? Getting enough sleep and sleeping well is hugely important for health. Yet, more than a quarter of us are thought to have trouble sleeping on a regular basis. Between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep are generally recommended for most adults. If you’re having trouble sleeping , these five foods may help you to drop off into a restful slumber:

1. Almonds

Almonds, and other nuts like walnuts, cashews and pistachios, are considered to be a good food for sleep. This is because nuts are a good source of the sleep hormone melatonin, and almonds are an especially good food source of melatonin. Melatonin regulates your internal clock and signals your body to prepare for sleep [1].

Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium, which is also important for sleep. One study conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry in Munich found that magnesium can increase deep slow wave sleep and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol [2]. Magnesium can also increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and helps you cross over into sleep.

2. Bananas

Ever felt sleepy after eating a banana? Bananas are also an excellent source of magnesium, which could be why. Bananas are also a great food source of potassium, which can help with night cramps and as with magnesium, relax muscles, making it easier to drift off and stay asleep. They also contain a small amount of the amino acid tryptophan, which can help to improve your sleep pattern by helping to produce melatonin.

3. Kiwi

Can kiwis help you sleep? According to some studies kiwis may be one of the best foods to eat before bedtime [3]. In one 4-week study, 24 adults consumed two kiwifruits one hour before going to bed each night. At the end of the study, participants fell asleep 42% more quickly than when they didn’t eat anything before bedtime [4]. Additionally, their ability to sleep through the night without waking improved by 5%, while their total sleep time increased by 13% [5]. We don’t know for sure why kiwis may help with sleep, but some researchers believe it has to do with their high serotonin content.

4. Oats

Sleep better with oats! Oats are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that support the production of sleep-inducing melatonin, including tryptophan. Oats also have a moderate glycaemic index, especially when compared to other cereal products, and can help to balance blood sugar levels. Balanced blood sugar levels will support the parasympathetic nervous system and allow for a calmer night’s sleep.

5. Tea

Tea before bedtime? Providing it’s caffeine-free, a cup of tea before bed can be very calming. Chamomile tea is one of the best teas for sleep as it has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality [6] thanks to an antioxidant called apigenin. One 2011 study involving 34 adults found that those who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster and experienced less nighttime wakening compared to those who didn’t consume the extract [7]. Another study found that women who drank chamomile tea for two weeks reported improved sleep quality compared to non-tea drinkers.

One last pearl of sleep-enhancing wisdom: remember not to eat or drink any foods too close to bedtime as eating immediately before going to sleep can cause digestive issues, such as acid reflux.

For additional tips on what to eat and drink to improve sleep, read another of our sleep help articles here.

Night night.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409...

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12163983

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27633109/

[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-to-h...

[5] http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/20/2/169.pd...

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995...

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198...