Twelve Foods for Better Sleep

When springing ahead for daylight saving time, losing an hour of your day can really disrupt your sleep schedule. To stay on track as the clocks change consider chowing down on snacks from this list of 12 foods to help you sleep. Look for foods containing tryptophan to relax, feel fuller longer, and steady your heartbeat.  

Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is used to synthesize animal and plant proteins. After absorbing the amino acid, our bodies convert it to serotonin and melatonin. 

Dubbed the "happy chemical," serotonin regulates your mood while keeping your body's internal clock in check by steadying your sleep cycles. There is no such thing as serotonin-rich foods, but if you mix foods that contain tryptophan with carbs, your serotonin levels will soar.  

Melatonin is a hormone and a common natural sleep aid. While you can find it in most supermarkets in pill form, you can get the same effect by adding or increasing your intake of a few sleep-inducing snacks.  

12 Foods to Help You Sleep


If you are on a low-carb diet, trade a piece of toast for honey's natural sugars. Mix a spoonful into a cup of hot chamomile tea, and you'll be drifting off to dreamland in no time.  

Leafy Greens

Calcium-rich foods like kale and other dark, leafy greens (think spinach, Swiss chard, and collards), help to generate melatonin in your body.  


Opt for a glass of warm milk if you're having trouble falling asleep. It turns out the old wives' tale is true—the calcium-filled liquid naturally induces sleep.  


Eat a cup of cherries if they're in season or drink eight ounces of cherry juice if they're not. Incorporating the tiny red fruit into your diet can regulate your sleep cycle.  


For a natural sedative, cook shrimp, tuna, halibut or cod. Fish are high in tryptophan.  


Still hungry after dinner? Nosh on a handful of almonds. They contain tryptophan as well as magnesium to relax your muscles and stabilize your heart rate.  


Start your day with a heart-healthy bowl of oatmeal to naturally raise your blood sugar. The chewy breakfast favorite will make you feel sleepy at bedtime.  


Nutrients from bananas convert into serotonin, plus the super fruit contains magnesium and potassium to calm your muscles and nerves. 


To give you an extra boost of the hormone that regulates sleep, eat a juicy prune about a half hour before hitting the hay.  


While turkey is known for inducing food comas, elk has almost twice more tryptophan than the big bird. To help the amino acid reach your brain, pair the game meat with carbohydrates.  


Hummus is a protein-packed Mediterranean spread that will keep you full longer and help fight insomnia. Pair it with watery vegetables like celery and cucumber to keep you hydrated before bed. 

Dark Chocolate

Nibble on a square or two of dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth and help you snooze.  

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