Healthy Food Tips For Improving Sleep Tight Tonight. Getting enough sleep is crucial for health, happiness and peak performance. But between jam-packed schedules, screens stimulating our brains, uncomfortable beds, or racing thoughts – getting quality ZZZs can be a struggle. The solution may be as simple as changing what’s on your plate. Certain foods contain compounds and key nutrients that promote better sleep naturally. Eating these snooze-inducing edibles a few hours before bed can set the stage for faster, deeper, uninterrupted rest all through the night. Keep reading to discover the best foods to add to your diet for delicious, dreamy slumber and refreshed mornings!
Healthy Food Tips For Improving Sleep Tight Tonight
Foods Rich in Tryptophan to Sleep Tight
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid required for producing feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin – our sleep and relaxation hormones. Consuming tryptophan-rich foods prompts your body to produce more of these calming compounds so you feel sleepy. The top sources include:
Turkey and Chicken
Enjoy a protein-packed dinner with oven roasted turkey breast, sage-rubbed chicken or simple chicken noodle soup. Skip the heavy gravies which can cause indigestion.
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds pack a tryptophan punch. Enjoy a small handful as a late night nosh before bed.
Cheese and Yogurt
Warm mug of milk, string cheese or a bowl of Greek yogurt provide tryptophan along with bone-building calcium. Opt for low-fat or non-dairy versions if lactose intolerant.
A complex carb that digests slowly, oatmeal triggers insulin production which helps transport tryptophan to the brain inducing drowsiness. Enjoy a bowl of overnight oats a couple hours pre-bed.
Flaky white fish, shrimp and halibut serve up ample amino acids. Try baked cod with herby crackers or shrimp salad stuffed in a hollowed tomato.
Beans and Lentils
Iron-rich and packed with protein, lentil dal with brown rice or veggie chili over quinoa make excellent high-tryptophan dinners. Spice them up!
Filling up on fiber-rich greens at dinner like a hearty kale salad or garlic sautéed spinach helps tryptophan pass the blood-brain barrier so you snooze soundly.
Fruits like bananas, apples, peaches and cherries make the list too. The natural sugars aid tryptophan uptake. Enjoy as an evening snack or sliced over oatmeal.
Sleep-Promoting Nutrients and Vitamins
Certain vitamins and minerals play supporting roles in quality sleep by reducing inflammation, anxiety and restless leg symptoms. Getting adequate amounts from wholesome foods has impressive calming effects. Top nutrient allies include:
This “chill pill” mineral lessens nighttime muscle tension, anxiety and racing thoughts. Food sources include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish and whole grains. Sip magnesium-infused mineral water or calming tea before bed.
Crucial for making melatonin and serotonin, vitamin B6-rich foods include pistachios, lean poultry, fish, sweet potatoes, spinach and avocado. Low B6 links to poor sleep quality especially as we age.
An electrolyte deficit can manifest as irritability, cramps and nervous system disruption during sleep. Load up on potassium from bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, lentils, yogurt and salmon.
This bone-building mineral doubles as a sleep enhancer by stimulating calming nitric oxide production and lowering cortisol. Enjoy low-fat dairy, dark leafy greens, tofu, fortified milk alternatives and seafood like sardines.
Restless leg syndrome disrupts sleep for up to 10% of adults (1). Iron deficiencies play a role, making muscle twitching and discomfort worse at night. Consume spinach, grass-fed beef, lentils and pumpkin seeds for iron and peaceful sleep.
Other key nutrients for sleep health include antioxidants, zinc and B vitamins found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds and seafood. Overall, a balanced diet sets the stage for snoozing through the night!
Foods that Promote Melatonin Production
Melatonin is a powerful sleep-signaling hormone that preps the body for sleep by lowering body temperature and inducing drowsiness. Production ramps up naturally as evening sets in and light exposure decreases. Consuming melatonin-boosting foods a few hours before bed further enhances this sleepy effect. Top food sources include:
Tart Cherry Juice: Sour Montmorency cherries contain high melatonin levels and drinking tart cherry juice doubles circulating melatonin in the bloodstream (2). Enjoy an 8 oz glass 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
This tropical fruit provides serotonin, the precursor needed to synthesize melatonin. Pineapple also contains enzymes that ease digestion so you sleep soundly.
Used for centuries in Chinese medicine, this antioxidant-rich superfruit prompts melatonin secretion thanks to high zeaxanthin levels. Eat a small handful nightly or drink as tea.
Corn, Oats and Rice
These whole grains boast high levels of melatonin when harvested. Enjoy a hearty bowl of brown rice veggie stir fry, corn on the cob or overnight oats.
All nuts provide melatonin but walnuts take the lead with almost 3x more than almonds or cashews (3). Sprinkle on salads or enjoy with tart cherry juice.
sipping tart cherry juice along with a small handful of walnuts gives you a one-two punch for max melatonin production and fast asleep time!
Foods that Improve Sleep Quality
Falling asleep faster is only half the battle – staying asleep is key for feeling refreshed upon waking. Certain compounds in the following foods enhance sleep quality by increasing REM and deep wave sleep:
Kiwi: This fuzzy green fruit boasts serotonin-producing nutrients plus antioxidants to reduce inflammation. Kiwis been shown to significantly improve sleep onset, duration and efficiency (4).
Chamomile Tea: This daisy-like herb elicits a mild sedative effect to calm minds and muscles. Sip a mug about an hour before bed for easiest snoozing.
Passionflower Tea: Used historically as a sleep aid, passionflower contains bioactive flavonoids to induce relaxation. Brew a soothing cup post-dinner.
Fatty Fish: Omega-3 rich salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines help form healthy cell membranes for efficient nutrient transfer and nerve signaling. Low levels associate with sleep problems (5).
Complex Carbs: Foods like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, whole grains and beans improve serotonin transport for longer, deeper sleep than simple carbs. They also stabilize blood sugar to prevent energy crashes.
Tart Cherries: In addition to melatonin, tart cherry juice contains anti-inflammatory compounds proven to improve insomnia and sleep efficiency (6). Drink daily or as needed pre-bed.
Avoiding the following foods for 4+ hours before bed will further promote sound slumber:
- Caffeine – coffee, tea, soda, chocolate
- Alcohol – disrupts REM cycles
- Heavy foods – digest slowly; cause indigestion
- Spicy foods – may cause acid reflux, heartburn
- Sugary foods – energy crashes disrupt sleep
FAQs About Healthy Food Tips For Improving Sleep Tight Tonight
1. What foods help you sleep at night?
Some top foods that promote better sleep include turkey, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and seafood containing tryptophan, an amino acid that increases sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin. Tart cherry juice, kiwi, chamomile tea and fatty fish also improve sleep quality. Limit sugary or heavy foods before bed for easiest slumber!
2. What should I eat 2 hours before bed?
The best snacks 2 hours before bed include tryptophan and melatonin-boosting foods like turkey, peanut butter, hummus, whole grain crackers, oatmeal, cherries, pineapple, passion fruit or chamomile tea. You want something light but filling enough to prevent hunger pangs.
3. What is the best thing to eat before bed to lose belly fat?
Research shows that consuming 30 grams of protein 30–60 minutes before bed increases overnight metabolism, calorie burning and fat loss (7). Great high protein, moderately-carb bedtime snacks include Greek yogurt with chia seeds, cottage cheese with berries, hard boiled eggs, edamame beans, or turkey roll-ups.
4. What drinks help you sleep better?
Some hydrating bedtime drink options for quality sleep include chamomile or passionflower herbal tea, warm nut milk with cinnamon, tart cherry juice and magnesium-rich mineral water. Limit caffeine, alcohol and sugary beverages which disrupt rest. Aim to finish drinking 1-2 hours before actual sleep time.
5. What vitamin helps you sleep through the night?
Key vitamins and minerals for improved sleep quality and duration include calcium, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins. Getting these nutrients from food sources like dairy, leafy greens, fish, whole grains, nuts and bananas has proven sleep benefits over supplements alone. A balanced diet sets the stage for sound slumber all night long.
Armed with this tasty knowledge, you now hold the keys to faster, deeper, uninterrupted sleep every single night! By incorporating sleep-promoting proteins, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and minerals into your balanced diet, feeling refreshed every morning is a dream no more. Sweet dreams!