Do you need more of a reason to eat popcorn? Not only is it delicious, but it also is low calorie and low fat. Now, we're finding out that it can also help you sleep! Popcorn is the superfood we're all looking for. The fiber and carbs can help you wake up refreshed and ready for the day.
Carbs act as a vehicle, helping the brain access tryptophan much easier, which helps you fall asleep. A study in the Journal of Nutritional Science found that eating things like popcorn helps provide a much better sleep when compared to fatty foods.
A handful of walnuts as a bedtime snack will have you snoozing in no time. Walnuts are high in tryptophan, which brings on melatonin and serotonin production and has its own source of melatonin. They’re also high in protein, so you’ll be sleeping and building muscle at the same time.
Walnuts also have a host of other benefits since it's a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. This promotes a healthy brain and heart. It's no surprise that walnuts are recognized by the American Heart Association as a great snack.
This superfood just keeps proving its value again and again. On top of a slew of other nutrients, kale is also full of calcium. That calcium helps tryptophan produce melatonin and serotonin in the brain.
A kale salad with your main meal, kale added to a smoothie, or sauteed kale as your side will all make falling asleep that much easier. If you find it too bitter, slow cooking them cuts down on the bitterness and makes them more palatable.
Figs have a lot of great nutrients that blend together to help you sleep at night. They contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. One study in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that magnesium improves insomnia, sleep efficiency, and sleep onset latency. It also made waking up easier.
Figs have a whopping 68 mg of magnesium per serving. Considering adult men need around 400 mg and women need 320 mg, figs are a great way to finish off the day for a restful sleep. Just make sure not to eat too many dried figs at the sugar content can make the snack unhealthy and potentially make sleep harder.
There’s a reason your mom gave you a glass of milk before bed—the calcium! The calcium in dairy products makes it easier for your brain to absorb tryptophan and fall asleep.
It doesn’t matter if you have a glass of milk, some cheese, or yogurt—they’ll all lull you to slumber. We suggest throwing some milk into your tea for the ultimate sleep aid.
Chamomile Tea with Honey
This one may not be too surprising. Tea helps you sleep, who knew! But why? Chamomile tea is known for helping you relax, and thus doze off with less hassle—and adding a spoonful of honey helps too.
Honey ups your insulin, which in turn aids tryptophan and results in better sleep. Be careful not to add too much to mess with your blood sugar levels too much, especially if you're diabetic.
Mercury isn’t the only thing this fish has. Salmon is also high in vitamin B6, which is necessary for your body to produce melatonin and serotonin. Eating salmon for dinner can make it easier for you to fall asleep when bedtime rolls around.
If you don’t like salmon, tuna, and halibut are also high in B6. Cold water fish are some of the best choices. Keep trying until you find one you love!
When it's the summer, you have to grab yourself a bowl of watermelon. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to sleep well. Your body has a hard time doing anything when it's dehydrated. That's not the only reason to eat watermelon for sleep, though!
Watermelon also has tons of choline. This nutrient has been proven to help decrease sleep disturbances by the Journal of Aging Research and Lifestyle. Watermelon also has lycopene, which can help you fall asleep faster, so it's time to stock up!
Aside from the fact rice is filling and a full belly makes you sleepy, it also has a high glycemic index. Research from the University of Sydney found that rice can help increase your glucose levels and spike your insulin.
While this is normally a bad thing, it also helps you fall asleep faster. On top of that, it could help you stay asleep throughout the night. Maybe avoid the fried rice and aim for steamed, however.
Hummus & Crackers
Hummus is made from chickpeas, and these are a good source of tryptophan. Eat hummus with whole grain crackers (the carbs help the tryptophan do it’s job) as a small snack before bed or before a nap.
Chickpeas also pack a whopping serving of vitamin B6, which is needed for your body to naturally make melatonin. Without melatonin, our body has a hard time falling asleep. It's always better to have your body make it naturally rather than taking meds.
It turns out there’s a reason a bowl of cereal always sounds good at night. The carbs in cereal and the calcium in milk will increase the production of all those sleep hormones and have you snoring before you know it.
Cereal is also a great option if you're craving something sweet but want to avoid candy. Candy is actually not a great idea since it spikes blood sugar far too much, which can keep you awake.
Whole grains apparently help you sleep better because of the insulin! That's good because insulin helps your neurons process tryptophan, which means you get sleepier faster. Not to mention, the fiber is great for your body.
When you're looking to eat a whole grain for a nightly snack or an accompaniment for dinner, read the ingredients. Anything that doesn't start with "whole grain" or "whole wheat" has been processed. This type of food is processed very quickly, so your body won't get the full benefits.
This isn't necessarily a night snack, but now you have a good excuse to splurge on that lobster dinner! Lobster (and shrimp) is high in tryptophan.
While you may be tempted to dip your lobster in butter, the fat may actually keep you awake. If you insist, use as little as possible. Steamed lobster is always healthier.
This one may not be that much of a surprise. Turkey is the classic “sleepy-time” food, something we're all used to running into on Thanksgiving day.
It has tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin to help relax your body. A relaxed body is a sleepy body, so eat turkey a little more than one day a year! Gobble gobble!
Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin. Melatonin is the chemical that helps your body fall asleep, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, grab some cherries.
Drinking cherry juice can also help get the same effect, although the actual fiber in a cherry is best. If you choose to drink juice, make sure to get tart cherry juice.
Bananas are full of potassium and magnesium, which are natural muscle relaxants. These delicious fruits also have tryptophan, which converts to serotonin to help your body relax.
One study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that bananas can boost the production of melatonin by 180%. That's a pretty staggering amount for one simple fruit!
Barley Grass Powder
Barley grass powder isn't the first thing people think of when they want a snack in the middle of the night, but it may be worth throwing in a smoothie. This ingredient is rich in a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, B, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
It also has a good amount of tryptophan and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), which is a chemical made in the brain to help you sleep. One study in Current Signal Transduction Therapy discovered even studied this powder and found that it helps improve sleep, especially when eaten naturally rather than taken in pill form.
Sweet potatoes are known by scientists to help the body produce serotonin, but that isn’t all. They also contain magnesium and zinc, which are two micronutrients that create melatonin.
In addition to that, this complex, sweet carb also has a lot of potassium. A study by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found a link between potassium and slow-wave sleep. This means better sleep for you!
If turkey doesn’t knock you out, elk may be a better option. It has twice the tryptophan of turkey, which produces even more serotonin and melatonin for your body.
Elk isn't too common, but it is best eaten as a steak. You can also grind it up and use it as ground meat, but we highly suggest trying the steak route. You may never go back to beef again!
Kiwi is a fantastic antioxidant, and it's full of vitamin C. The vitamins will keep you feeling better, but this fruit can do so much more. It's small, but it's also high in serotonin.
Studies show that participants who ate kiwi before bed were more likely to sleep better throughout the night. Just eat two kiwifruits an hour before bed. Since they're so small and inexpensive, you can also add it with berries for a sweet snack at night.
Soyfoods naturally contain tryptophan, but they also have isoflavones. Several studies have found that isoflavones can help the body sleep better at night, even for those that suffer from insomnia.
Tofu alone has been studied extensively. A study in Nutrition Journal found that adults who ate two or more servings of tofu slept longer and reported better sleep quality.
Do you need any more of a reason to eat pistachios? Pistachios are a vitamin jackpot. They contain B6, protein, and magnesium – all of which can help you sleep soundly at night.
Experts suggest not to eat too much, however. The little nut is high in calories, but eating too much can have the reverse effect on your body. Our bodies use calories for energy, so eating too much will give your mind a boost. That's not what you want for sound sleep.
Prunes may not be the most exotic and appetizing food out there, but it’s certainly one of the best. On top of assisting the digestive system, prunes can also help you sleep.
They’re high in B6, calcium, and magnesium, which help make melatonin. Eating fresh prunes are the best way to go as dried prunes are often extremely high in sugar.
Dark chocolate has a bit of caffeine, so many people say to avoid it before bed. However, this delicious treat has even more serotonin. Unfortunately, not all chocolate is made the same.
Milk chocolate doesn’t contain serotonin, making dark chocolate have the unique benefit of helping you sleep while curbing your sweet tooth. The more cocoa, the better.
Cottage cheese may not be the first thing you go for at night, but it will be after you hear us out! Cottage cheese is high in lean protein and carbs, which can help boost the production of serotonin. When the levels are low, it can be difficult for you to catch some zzzs.
Some prefer to pair cottage cheese with carb-rich crackers for an extra one-two punch. However, we like it with berries because it's a sweet treat that won't expand the waistline. Berries are low on the glycemic index, so it's sweet without substantially impacting your blood sugar.
Pineapple is a surprising one – we're not gonna lie. Pineapple is pretty acidic, so it may not be for everyone. For those that can tolerate it, pineapple can help increase melatonin levels by a whopping 266%! That's way more than any other tropical fruits.
We're not making this up. A study by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry looked into tropical fruits and melatonin production. The volunteers ate their fruit for a week. While pineapple increased melatonin by 266%, banana boosted the sleep hormone by 180%.
Tea is going to calm you down, but there's more than one reason you should drink passionfruit tea to sleep. It helps a variety of ailments from anxiety to insomnia. The high content of magnesium helps you fall asleep at night. One study looked even further.
A double-blind study in Phytotherapy Research studied volunteers who drank passionfruit tea for a week. Those who actually drank the tea showed significantly better sleep quality! The study did say it was a short-term method, but it's worth looking into if you need a little assistance for a bit.
Eggs really do get a bad reputation. Most people eat them for breakfast, but they can be consumed at night for a healthy boost of tryptophan. On top of that, LiveStrong reported that the protein could help stabilize your blood levels. Eggs could be the answer to sleeping through the night!
Eggs can also help you fall asleep and stay asleep until the morning. If you want to make it even more effective, add in a carb-rich food. Eating an egg with whole-grain toast is a combination your body will love.
This salty snack is already a favorite for many, so let's just call this justification for a late-night snack. Pretzels can help increase your tryptophan levels and encourage a better night's sleep. That being said, some people should be careful.
Pretzels can also increase your insulin levels, which could help you fall asleep faster. However, if you have diabetes, you may want to find another way to sleep at night. We suggest one of the other items on the list that won't spike your blood sugar immediately before bed.