Have you been struggling with getting enough sleep? Even when you avoid screens after 10pm, get your room to the perfect temperature, and clear your mind of any stress, a good night’s sleep can be hard to come by.  Well it turns out the food you eat, portion sizes, and when you eat it can affect your body’s ability to sleep at night.

At Weight Loss Direct we learned that targeting specific foods in your diet can make it possible to stack the odds in your favor for a good night’s sleep. Read on to see how diet can help you improve your sleep and what foods can make a difference.


10 Foods That Help You Sleep  


1. Whole Grains

When it comes to a good night’s sleep one easy change you can make is switching to whole grain options wherever you can. Complex Carbs including whole-grain bread, pasta, cereals, and brown rice. It’s also important to replace Simple Carbs like white breads, cakes, and pastries which can actually lower your serotonin levels. Eating whole grains help you sleep by increasing your insulin production. Insulin improves tryptophan activity in the brain helping you get to sleep faster. Whole Grains also contain magnesium which helps with staying asleep.


2. Nuts

A simple and healthy snack, nuts are another good way to improve your sleep. This includes walnuts, almonds, cashews, Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. You can also eat peanut butter or other nut butters as long as they don’t contain any additional ingredients. These nuts and seeds all contain natural healthy fats. These fats improve sleep by boosting your serotonin levels.


3. Eggs

A big plate of eggs is a great source of healthy protein to start your day. This protein can give you a good boost to start your day but eggs can also help improve your sleep. Eggs are a great source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is one of the key ingredients in serotonin production which is a precursor to melatonin. Breakfast for dinner has always been appealing but now there is a scientific reason for it.


4. Kiwis

The Kiwi is a popular tropical fruit that has been found to improve sleep when eaten an hour or so before sleeping. Kiwi’s have been connected to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer because of their high concentration of serotonin and ability to address folate deficiencies.


5. Bananas

Another popular tropical fruit, bananas have also been linked with better sleep. bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium. Potassium helps your body regulate nerve signals and muscle contractions. By improving your body’s ability to regulate muscles it’s easier to fully relax at night allowing for a more restful night’s sleep.


6. Cherries

Cherries, especially sweet cherries are high in melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone, eating melatonin rich foods can help your body regulate its sleep wake cycle. By drinking a glass of cherry juice before bed its possible to help with insomnia and improve the restfulness of your sleep at the same time.


7. Turkey

Anyone who has ever had a big thanksgiving dinner knows that turkey is a great way to promote tiredness. Turkey is a great source of protein with one ounce of meat providing 8 grams of protein. Protein is important for building and repairing tissue but it has also been associated with higher quality sleep and less wakeful nights.


8. White rice

White rice is a popular grain that is easily found around the world. White rice is different from other forms of rice because its bran and germ have been removed. White rice also has a high Glycemic Index which measures how quickly a food increases your blood sugar. For some people this rise in blood sugar can be unhealthy but studies have shown that eating foods with a high glycemic index one or two hours before bed may improve your night’s sleep.


9. Fatty fish

Research has also found that eating fatty fish like salmon can improve your ability to fall asleep. Over a period of months people that ate salmon three time a week had an easier time getting to sleep. Researchers believe that by providing vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids fatty fish can help your body regulate your serotonin levels.


10. Milk

Most people have heard that drinking a warm glass of milk before bed can help with sleep. However, not everyone knows there is a scientific reason for this belief. Milk contains a significant amount of Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that plays an important role in serotonin production. Tryptophan can improve serotonin production about an hour after being consumed!


5 foods that can keep you awake


1. Citrus Fruit

Citrus is a natural diuretic. Diuretics help rid your body of salt and water by increasing your need to urinate. Waking up multiple times each night to go to the bathroom is a great way to sabotage your night’s sleep. Citrus plays an important role in your body so it’s important to keep it in your diet. However, making sure you avoid any citrus fruits before bed is a simple way to improve your night’s sleep.


2. Chocolate

There is nothing better than a good dark chocolate! However, when you are having a hard time getting to sleep chocolate won’t do you any favors. Chocolate, like coffee, actually contains caffeine. The amount of caffeine varies depending on the type of chocolate, dark chocolate containing the most, but all chocolate has at least a little caffeine in it. In addition to caffeine chocolate also contains theobromine which increases heart rate and promotes sleeplessness.


3. Pizza

Pizza is a savory dish with as many options for toppings as places to buy it. Most people love pizza but not everyone knows its effects on sleep. Classic pizzas contain tomato sauce which has natural acids that can lead to an indigestion. While not everyone will notice a difference people struggling with sleep would be better off avoiding a slice or two before bed.


4. Peppers/ Hot Sauce

Not everyone appreciates spicy food but anyone that doe would be best to avoid it before bed. It’s a common belief that eating peppers before bed will give someone strange dreams. Strange dreams can affect your sleep but peppers can also make a more measurable difference. The compound that makes chilis hot is capsaicin. Capsaicin can cause heartburn or indigestion but it also raises your body temperature making it harder to get comfortable and fall asleep.    


5. Ice Cream

Unlike a warm glass of milk, Ice cream is one of the worst snacks to have before bed. Loaded with sugars ice cream can give you a burst of energy that can keeps you awake well into the night. In addition to its sugar, ice cream is also high in fat. Foods that are high in fat take a long time to digest which takes energy and prevents your body from fully resting.


The takeaway

While the foods listed above can benefit or harm your night’s sleep its important to know that everyone reacts differently to the foods they eat. By paying attention to the food you eat its possible to find what works best for you and apply changes to your diet in a way that makes the biggest difference.

Interested in sleeps effects on weight loss? Check out our post on The Importance of Sleep When Losing Weight.

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