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7 Super Foods That Help You Sleep

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I talk a lot about mattresses, pillows, and other sleep products that can help you sleep. You never should discount the value of a quality mattress or pillow, but you could start sleeping better tonight by just changing a few of your eating habits. Certain foods have the right stuff that your body and mind are looking for in terms of helping increase your relaxation, calm your mind, and help you get to sleep…and stay asleep. 

The following 7 super foods help you sleep by relaxing your mind and body. If you’re having trouble getting enough rest at night try incorporating these foods into your daily and nightly routine. You just might find that food can be a savior to your sleep as much as a new bed can!

#1 Bananas

Bananas are packed with B6 vitamins. B6 is important because it can help you produce more of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Having a banana a few hours before bed, or perhaps alongside a little after dinner desert is an easy way to boost your B6 and melatonin levels.

bananas help you sleep
Bananas contain B6, which can help to increase your melatonin levels, the sleep hormone.

#2 Lettuce

Lettuce contains lactucarium, which has relaxing and sedative properties. A small salad with dinner can help to prep your body for the night by calming your mind and helping you sleep.

#3 Tea

A cup of hot tea before bed is perfect to put both mind and body in a relaxed state. Chamomile tea has been shown to increase glycine. Glycine is responsible for relaxing both muscles and nerves. If you’re like me and don’t care much for chamomile there are a litany of other sleepy time teas that can help. My personal favorite is jasmine dragon phoenix pearls (weird name, but a great relaxation tea for the evening).

sleepy chamomile tea
A nice hot mug of chamomile tea will relax your mind and body.

#4 Honey

A spoonful of honey can help tryptophan enter your brain more easily. Tryptophan is the stuff in your turkey dinner that puts you in a food coma after eating. You can take the honey raw in a small spoonful, mixed in with your tea, or spread over fruit. In addition, honey contains glucose, which will tell your brain to stop making orexin (chemical responsible for awareness). Don’t over do it on the honey though, a teaspoon is typically enough to help you sleep. 

foods that help you sleep honey
Honey helps increase tryptophan absorption by the brain. These are a couple of my favorites, from Boulder, CO, and Savannah, GA

#5 Almonds

According to The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, a magnesium deficiency can make it difficult to stay asleep. If you find yourself waking up during the night you might try eating almonds more regularly. Almonds contain magnesium. They are great chopped up in a salad or if you’re a glutton for chocolate, covered in milk chocolate and available in bulk on Amazon. :)

almonds foods that help you sleep better
Almonds contain magnesium, which for some people with lower magnesium was a factor in sleeplessness. These just happen to be my favorite chocolate covered almonds :)

#6 Hummus

Hummus is high in trypotophan. Try a bit of hummus with lunch or dinner in addition to your tea with honey. Honey will help the tryptophan reach your brain more easily, while the tea and hummus relax you into blissful dreams.

#7 Elk

It’s a weird one, I’ll admit that. But Elk truly is a super food to help you sleep. Elk has twice the amount of tryptophan that turkey does. A big elk steak is sure to end in a healthy nap or good night’s sleep.

elk foods that help you sleep
Elk contains huge amounts of tryptophan. I recently saw this pretty one on vacation in northern Arizona.

Do you have a special super drink or food that helps you sleep? Drop us a comment below and let us know!

Logan Block

Logan is the content director of Sleepopolis, which means he not only reviews new mattresses every week, but also curates all the comparisons, best of pages, and video guides on the site. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews and endeavors to give viewers an objective look at each new product he tries out. Logan has perfected his method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so he’s not only able to discern the overall vibe of a specific bed, but to contextualize its feel within the bed-in-a-box market as a whole.