Today we want to share the best foods to eat before bed for a sound and satisfying sleep. What we put in our stomachs affects everything we do in life. From our energy levels throughout the day to how we feel in the morning, our gut is the gateway to living healthier and more productive lives. Sleep is no exception here. Just like so many other nutrients that our body produces, we sometimes need to supplement our diet to include things like melatonin, omega-3, amino acids and magnesium that all promote muscle relaxation and rest. This article will cover a number of foods and supplements you can eat before bed to promote a restful and satisfying sleep, making you more energetic and productive in your daily lives. Let’s explore some of the foods and food groups that best promote sleep.
Nuts and Grains
Foods in the nut and grain families offer a ton of nutrients and proteins, including melatonin. “For those without allergies, nuts like walnuts and pistachios are great for promoting good sleep. They’re filled with not only melatonin, but magnesium and zinc which all help with sleep and to fortify the immune system,” says Matthew Mundt, Founder and CEO of Hug Sleep. These are great snacks to have on hand at the end of your day. They’re filling and they’re filled with helpful sleep hormones.
Even more specifically, almonds are a particularly melatonin rich nut. “Almonds are a fantastic super food when it comes to sleep,” VP of Sales and Marketing at EnergyFit Jeff Meeks tells us. “They are packed with melatonin, magnesium and antioxidants to help with sleep and inflammation. More in depth research is needed to understand their role in sleep, but initial findings are promising showing that almonds promote a deeper, fuller sleep.”
In addition to nuts, grains and crackers are often filled with nutrients that promote sleep. CEO of Winona Nancy Belcher said , “One of the best natural sleep aids are whole grain snacks like crackers or bread. They’re filled with magnesium, calcium and act as a natural muscle relaxant. Try eating some whole grain crackers with some cheese as a nighttime snack to help you fall asleep soundly.”
Teas and Probiotics
Teas and herbal mixtures have been used as sleep aids for centuries. Hector Guttierez, CEO of JOI tells us a little bit about chamomile, a tea known for its usefulness for sleep and relaxation. “Teas, particularly chamomile, have long been used as sleep aids and relaxation tools. For centuries, chamomile has been considered a sleep inducer due to high levels of the antioxidant apigenin which decreases anxiety and promotes sleep.”
Chamomile is the most well known and widely used tea for sleep aid, but lavender infused tea may also help promote sound and restful sleep. “Lavender tea has been historically used for ease anxiety and preparing the body for sleep,” says Nicholoas Vasiliou, CEO of BioNutrition. “It works differently than chamomile by preparing your brain for sleep by decreasing anxiety rather than binding with sleep receptors in the brain.”
There are many ingredients that might be added to a blend of lavender and chamomile, such as Valerian Root. “Valerian Root is often found in sleepy time tea blends alongside lavender, chamomile and lemongrass,” says Lauren Singer of Package Free Shop. “It has been known over centuries to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It is especially effective when paired with other ingredients to promote relaxation and calming sensations.”
There are many proteins and meat products that contain hormones that our body doesn’t produce, but allow sleep hormones to flow easily to the brain. Lovers of fall holiday feasts can probably recall a long nap after eating a turkey dinner. Jay Levitt, Founder and CEO of Lofta tells us why, “There’s a reason we feel particularly sleepy after a thanksgiving dinner. That’s because turkey contains a compound called l-tryptophan which is commonly linked with sleep. This compound is an amino acid that our body doesn’t make, so our bodies react very effectively to its intake.”
In addition to poultry, fish and ocean vegetation contain different kinds of amino acids that promote relaxation and sleep. Plus, a high fish diet is great for our overall health as well. “Fatty fish is another great food for sleep,” tells Lisa Odenweller, Founder and CEO of Kroma Wellness. “Fish is packed with amino acids and melatonin which is the chemical our brain produces when we try to go to sleep. Sometimes, when our bodies don’t produce enough melatonin, we need to supplement it with other foods and supplements.”
Fruits, Vegetables and Yogurt!
Fruits, veggies and probiotic foods are another great source of sleep hormones and nutrients to help your body wind down after a long day. Sarah Pirrie, Brand Director at Healist Naturals gives us the low down on grapes and their sleep benefits. “Grapes are one of the most melatonin rich foods you can eat. They also make a great sweet treat for the end of the day as you wind down and get ready for bed. Pairing your nighttime routine with melatonin rich snacks on a regular basis will promote deeper, more restful sleep.” Grapes are not alone in being a melatonin rich fruit, however. Tart cherries are also packed with melatonin. “Cherries and cherry based serums for sleep are great to add to your routine before bed,” says Gabrielle Conforti, CEO of Outdoor Voices. “They are packed with melatonin and make a great sweet snack for the end of your day.”
We’ve talked a lot about melatonin and magnesium, which are both great for promoting sleep. But potassium also plays an important role in keeping us asleep through the night. Seb Evans, Co-Founder of Banquist, tells us why bananas are a great bedtime snack. “Potassium is known to help keep people asleep throughout the night, so bananas are a great snack to have before bed. Plus, they’re also packed with magnesium and tryptophan which are both powerful sleep aids found in a number of different foods.”
Similar to the amino acids found in poultry and fish, calcium promotes the distribution of sleep hormones through our body. “A lot of people don’t know that kale is a high calcium food. Calcium helps sleep hormones process in the brain, so eating kale regularly as part of your meal or as a pre-bed snack will help promote better sleep,” said Chris Vaughn, CEO of Emjay. Products like milk and milk alternatives are a great source of calcium to add to a smoothie, cereal or just on its own before bed to help your body distribute melatonin and get you ready for sleep.
Or, as Rachel Jones, Head of PR at Hope Health tells us, you can go for yogurt for your daily source of calcium! “Yogurt and foods with high calcium levels are great for helping you sleep. Calcium helps your body process sleep hormones that tell your body to go into a deep sleep.”
What we put in our body directly affects the kind of sleep we get, and how rested we will feel when we wake up. Consider adding some of these super foods to your diet to help promote more restful sleep on a regular basis.