Foods That Improve Sleep


tryptophan foods

Foods that improve sleep are not at all difficult to find, as long as you know what they are. In all likelihood, you have quite a few of them in your kitchen right now. So although it is not recommended that you eat within the last few hours before going to bed, if you truly must, you may as well choose something that will help you to get the rest you need, instead of working against you.

Benefiting from Foods that Improve Sleep

Keep in mind that foods that improve sleep are not the same as a prescription knock-out drug or even a gentle sleep supplement. Furthermore, if you eat anything – including these foods – within the last hour or so before bedtime, then you’re likely only going to cause yourself more of a struggle to drift off, or you might find yourself waking up a short time after you doze.

What to Look for in Tasty Rest-Promoting Foods

Typically speaking (though not exclusively), the best foods that improve sleep are those that contain healthy carbohydrates and that are a good source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that the body is incapable of producing on its own and that must therefore be consumed in food. When tryptophan is absorbed into the blood and travels to the brain, serotonin is released. This is a substance in the brain that promotes relaxation, calm, and sleepiness. If your serotonin levels are low, you might find it challenging to get to sleep, so by making sure that you consume some a little while before you start your calming routine before bed, you can help to overcome this problem.

The key to making sure that the tryptophan will have the best reaction in your body is to choose foods that improve sleep that are also rich in good carbohydrates, at the same time. The carbohydrates will encourage your body to produce insulin, which can stop a number of other forms of amino acid from traveling to your brain. This gives the tryptophan a clear path in the brain without having to compete with other amino acids for access.

Great Foods that Improve Sleep to Add to Your Meals and Snacks

Among the most effective foods that improve sleep are the following:

  • Beans
  • Turkey
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Whole grains (including rice)
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Eggs
  • Sesame seeds
  • Unsweetened soy milk
  • Raw dairy products
  • Miso

A mid evening snack that uses one or a combination of these foods for both tryptophan and good carbohydrate consumption can make a notable difference in your ability to relax and drift off to sleep at the right time at night.

How to Eat Them


Remember that overeating or having foods too close to your bedtime – or in the middle of the night – can work against your efforts to become restful and fall asleep for the night.  Overeating can create a fast path to sleeplessness as you can provide your body with too much energy while causing yourself digestive discomfort during the time you’re hoping to relax and drift off.

Remember to practice moderation when you eat these foods that improve sleep and give your digestive system the time to figure things out and settle down before you hit the sack.  An additional benefit of this strategy is that you’ll also help to prevent certain unwanted discomforts such as gas and acid reflux that can occur from reclining or lying down too soon after filling your belly.

While you’re at it, be sure to avoid foods that are too fatty, spicy, or sugary right before bedtime, as they can work against the benefits of the foods that improve sleep, which is the last thing you’re hoping to do.

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