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Foods to Help You Sleep
11 years ago

Top 10 Foods That Will Help You Sleep 11:06 AM
It may seem like an old wives' tale, but it's not. Certain foods really can make you sleepy. So if you're having trouble falling asleep, try nature's sleeping pill before you hit the medicine cabinet, reports These foods will not only help your muscles relax, but also quiet a busy mind and even induce two sleep hormones, serotonin and melatonin.

The top 10 foods that will help you sleep, according to
1. Bananas
"They're practically a sleeping pill in a peel," quips Each tasty bite contains melatonin and serotonin to make you sleepy, as well as magnesium, a known muscle relaxant.

2. Chamomile tea
This herbal tea is not only caffeine-free, but also has a mild sedating effect.

3. Warm milk
Mom was right! Milk contains a trace of tryptophan, an amino acid with a sedative-like effect, as well as calcium, which helps the brain process tryptophan.

4. Honey
If you're really wide awake, put a teaspoon or two of honey in warm milk or chamomile tea. This tiny bit of glucose will send a message to your brain to turn off orexin, a neurotransmitter that has been linked to alertness.

5. Potatoes
A small potato--about the size of your computer mouse--will eliminate acids that can interfere with tryptophan. Supercharge it by mashing it with some warm milk.

6. Oatmeal
Oats are a wonderful source of melatonin. Make it with warm milk and a drizzle of honey and you'll be lucky to make it to your bed before dozing off.

7. Almonds
Not only are almonds good for your heart, but also since they contain tryptophan and magnesium they can make you sleepy. Very, very sleepy.

8. Flaxseeds
Can't fall asleep because you're feeling a little blue? Sprinkle some flaxseeds on your bedtime oatmeal. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they'll perk your mood up and help your forget your troubles.

9. Whole wheat bread
Make a cup of chamomile tea and drizzle honey on whole wheat toast. Enjoy. The combination will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain where it's converted to serotonin. Zzzzzz...

10. Turkey
Arguably the most famous sleep-inducing food, turkey is packed with tryptophan. Eat a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, and you'll be in Snooze City soon.

Don't want to eat a snack before bed? Then eat one of these dinners, recommended by as the best dinners for a good night's sleep. They're high in carbohydrates and low in protein, which will help you relax. Large, high-fat meals can keep you awake all night.

Best sleepy-time dinners:
Pasta with parmesan cheese
Scrambled eggs and cheese
Tofu stir-fry
Hummus with whole wheat pita bread
Seafood, pasta, and cottage cheese
Meats and poultry with veggies
Tuna salad sandwich
Chili with beans, not spicy
Sesame seeds sprinkled on salad with tuna chunks and whole wheat crackers

11 years ago
I am so sorry, I thought I had it....previewed with large fonts and when posted it was small again...
Along with foods...heres a fact
11 years ago
Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11PM and 1AM. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver which then secondarily back up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.
11 years ago
ok, that's not good for me then because for some time I worked 3rd shift.  In other words, what you are saying is that your internal clock doesn't work with this?  Your body will not adjust to this time difference? 
11 years ago

Thank you Donna for reposting this here.

Yvonne is correct in what she says.....the body clock does not really adjust that well for most people.  Here is an excerpt from

Your body clock
We all have a 'body clock' that programs us to sleep at night and stay awake during the day.

Inside our brains is a group of 10,000 nerve cells that make us respond to night and day. Our body temperature is programmed to drop at night and make us sleepy and to rise during the day to help us feel alert. We are least alert and most sleepy in the pre-dawn hours around 5am. At night time our digestive system slows and our hormone production rises to repair our bodies. The hormone melatonin helps set our body clock; it increases at night and makes us want to sleep. Exposure to bright light will help set your body clock to the daytime.

You cannot totally reverse your body clock and the main reason why night shift work is difficult is that you are working against your biological make up. However, if you are a regular night shift worker, you can partially adjust your body clock to reduce the impact of working when your body says, "sleep".

11 years ago
you are very welcome.  And thank you for this info as well as Yvonne.  I really thought that you could adjust without a problem.  Amazing, our bodies really are like fine tuned machines and the things we do to mess them up...
10 years ago
Yes Donna, our bodies are amazing in all that they do and how finely tuned they are.
peanut butter
10 years ago
My hubby says when he eats a peanut butter sandwich at bedtime it helps him go to sleep.  If he cannot sleep and cannot get to sleep he will make one of these and then he says it just seems to do the job.  What would be doing this in the peanut butter?   Or is it just a comfort food for his biological make up?    Judith L. D.
10 years ago
Nutritionists and other experts say that the tryptophan in turkey probably won't trigger the body to produce more serotonin because tryptophan works best on an empty stomach. The tryptophan in a Thanksgiving turkey has to vie with all the other amino acids that the body is trying to use. So only a small part of the tryptophan makes it to the brain to help produce serotonin.

It is the whole traditional Thanksgiving meal that can produce that after-dinner lethargy. The meal is quite often heavy and high in carbohydrates -- from mashed potatoes, bread, stuffing and pie -- and your body is working hard to digest that food. Also, if you drink alcohol with your dinner, you will likely feel its sedative effect, too.

There is a way to take advantage of the tryptophan in turkey. If you have trouble getting to sleep one night while there is still leftover turkey in the refrigerator, you could have a late snack of turkey (only) and that, nutritionists say, might be the right amount of tryptophan on an empty stomach to help produce some serotonin.

10 years ago

Yo Donna,

thxfor posting this! I'll keep this in mind when I have trouble sleeping!


10 years ago

Yo Yvonne,

thxfor your Post. Very interestng!!!


9 years ago

I was one of those people who would very very often wake up in the wee hours of the morning and not be able to get back to sleep which would leave me very tired on only 4 to 6 hours sleep most nights.

It is important to not be consuming food and beverages that will keep you excited and energised late at night.  I never drink coffee, colas or tea ever so no caffiene for me.  When I do eat some chocolate; I eat it early in the day. 

Also, very salty foods can keep you buzzed. I remember years ago getting some popcorn at the cinema one evening; it was oversalted and I knew it but still ate it. I could not sleep for hours that night.

I do sleep well through the night now. What I have found is that by being fully nourished with a well balanced diet has made the difference. Also, an easy to digest evening snack of a healthy herbal food mixture with a piece of fruit has helped to keep me settled for the night.  

Do take seriously how important it is to nourish yourself with a well balanced diet. See these 2 folders:

Alkaline - Acid Balance 

"Healing Foods" Pyramid

This is a very awesome thread!
9 years ago

Maybe Diana will consider pinning it? Plz...?

A friend of mine told me about catnip tea which will make you sleepy. Tastes suspiciously like Celestial Seasons Sleepytime Tea

Also, Valerian Root is good to take an hour before sleep.

9 years ago

Yes Spooky that is why I brought it back up; it has some great info in it and so many people know what it is like to not sleep well. As per your suggestion I will pin it.

9 years ago

9 years ago

Hi all! I just saw this thread and so I have to post my experiences. I used to have very disrupted sleep, due partly to unresolved emotional issues, but also to overstressed adrenals. I had read (and found to be the case) that if this is the case, sometimes the blood sugar will drop in the nightime, and this causes you to wake up. So the solution here would be to eat something small with a high protein content (like cheese) close to bedtime, and it would keep the blood sugar high enough to allow you to sleep. Stressed adrenals can also place you in a state of constant vigilance (like pre-fight-or-flight) so your senses are heightened, and you are less likely to sleep through strange sounds, changes in light etc. Here's another interesting bit for those with stressed adrenals - another time period where the adrenals do a lot of regeneration is actually 7am-9am. So if you have the chance, even every once in a while, to sleep during these hours, it can really make a bit difference in how you feel! In general, though, the more you stay away from stimulating foods like caffeine and sugar, the better your sleep will be. Get some exercise too, so your body is tired at bedtime. Oh, and on the food end, lettuce juice is supposed to be a very strong sedative. It does have a sedative effect on me, but I can't say it really helped me sleep much. But it might be worth a try for some of you!

9 years ago

Helen, that is very interesting "adrenals do a lot of regeneration is actually 7am-9am"  I did not know that and would like more information about it; do you have any more info?

9 years ago

HI Diane, I had read this in a book about adrenal fatigue (link below), and found that this seems to be the case in my own life. I did some searching on the web and can't find anything additional about it, although it's not easy to find any info on what organs/systems regenerate when in your sleep cycle (I didn't find any in my brief search).That would be interesting to know! I agree with the 11pm - 1am time period mentioned above as well. Often people with adrenal fatigue, if not asleep by 11pm will get a "second wind" that will keep them up until 2-3pm. I have heard this from several people. I did find that the book had a lot of good information, and it helped me out a lot. Hope it can help someone else!

adrenal issue
9 years ago

Thank you so much for the link and the information; I have been having almost desperation sleep; can't sleep til about 5am (listen to the chimes, every 15 minute on each clock,then the hourly chimes) and then I get up at 11 or so in the morning.  This is not by choice.  I did try sleeping earlier, then woke at 4 and couldn't get back to sleep.  I need to pay attention to what the link says, I am sooo tired.

9 years ago

Helen, I will check it later when I have time to read.....just too busy right now to even think.

9 years ago

Constant eating or ingesting Sugar will keep you awake all night long. Also dont forget your liver, kidneys and other vital organs are at work at night time. The liver especially as it goes about doing the body housework ready for the 'dumpmaster' the next morning.

I also just read that if you get disturbed in the middle of the night and need to visit the bathroom, then one should never ever turn on any lights at all b/c apparently this disturbs the Melatonin levels and once you have turned on the light, to get back to sleep again is impossible. Thought this was interesting. I dont turn lights on at all but pick my way to the bathroom and back after all one should know the 'track' back n forth well..huh?

Drink boiled water before bed and also some cheese as its got Tryptophan in it which is good for sleeping.

Another thing is to always get to bed at the same time every night. I go to bed every night ( I use to stay up till nearly 12 o clock at night..not know I go to bed between 10pm and 10.30pm.

Another tip is if you are conducive to not sleeping is not to be stimulated as in having a phone call late at night or a in depth discussion to perk up your brain and get you all alert.

Boring reading will help you Or as my mother used to do and if you sleep alone is to have the radio on very very low, this will put you to sleep fast.

Meditating will help too.

If you have eaten high carbs this will play havoc on your sugar levels as well as keep you awake. Carbs are starchy and rest on the liver so you have to watch what you eat so that your liver can do its cleansing without waking you up.

A warm cup of milk and add teaspoon of good quality honey will also do the trick with its tryptophan. Seletonian/Melatonin levels which are low play havoc on those who cant sleep

A good tincture to use is Rescue Remedy - Sleep..Its Bach Flowers. It works! 4 drops on your tongue will do it. its homeopathic/bach flowers.

hope this helps you..Im off to bed soon.

9 years ago

Well Annie, that was a good summary of all that has been said here with your added bits. Hope you are having a lovely restful sleep while we here on this side of the earth are up and at it. for you in your deep sleep.

9 years ago

     Some of these I already knew but many of them along with the excelent explination were very enlightening for me and I wanted to thank you all for your input and responses!

         Wolfgram MD

REad    " I LOVE THIS DOCTOR" thread for a laughing or humorous look at diet and food intakes.     

I don't read boring books....
9 years ago


but I'm here to say all reading will put you to sleep. It's what I do each and every night when I lay down. Stephen King calls it "Book Valium"


For Bobbi
9 years ago

HI Bobbi, I remember having a terrible time sleeping, not being able to get to sleep, and then waking up in the middle of the night and not getting back to sleep etc. Here's what happened to me and what I did: 1) I realized that i have severe reactions to sugar, particularly refined sugar. If I ate too much of it, it would almost throw me into panic attacks, at least make me irritable and irrationally emotional, as well as jittery and unable to relax. Once I figured this out, I cut out the sugar, and things began to get better. I could still eat fruit and some grain sweeteners, but most strong sugars I had to avoid for a while. Then it was a process of allowing my adrenals to recover. 2) I had a bunch of unresolved emotional issues that would come up unconsciously at night. Once I resolved those, my sleep started to improve. This did take several years, but over the time my sleep gradually improved. 3) I began to meditate, and learned how to calm my mind down (or at least how to not pay attention to it). I still sometimes keep a notebook by my bed and write down all the things I need to do the next day and anything on my mind. Once it's on paper, I feel I can relax and not think about it for a while, and it stops the mental wheel from keeping me awake. 4) I learned that light will wake me very easily, so I sleep with a face mask. I also have earplugs if I feel I really need to block out external sounds, although I don't use them all the time - it's hard on the ears. 5) As Feng Shui experts have recommended, I don't do anything in my bedroom except sleep. I read, work, etc. in other areas of my house. Too much stimulation in the bedroom can disturb sleep too. And keep TVs, computers etc. out of the room. Oh, and I got rid of the electric clock next to my bed - too much elecromagnetic energy, and right next to the head!! I use a small travel clock instead. 6) I started exercising regularly. When the body is tired, it naturally wants to rest at night. Choose something you enjoy - I like to walk, lift weights, and ballroom dance! 7) I still am aware of what I eat close to bedtime - I make sure I have eaten enough protein to keep my blood sugar high enough through the night, no caffeine or sugar near bedtime, and I use valerian tea or Kava extract and/or valerian extract if I really need a boost. I almost never need more than that these days. 8) And B vitamins! Don't forget them during the daytime! The first thing the body uses under stress (especially adrenal stress) is the B vitamins. They'll make you feel better, and help the nerves relax too. The above took more than 10 years for me, since there was so much going on. But at least now I don't worry about whether I can get a good night's sleep - it's rare that I don't. I still might wake up in the middle of the night, but if I do, I sit up and meditate. As often as not, I'll fall asleep anyway, and if not, at least I'm doing something constructive! Hope this helps! I realize I got off the food topic, but there are so many elements that contribute to a good night's sleep that I think they all should be mentioned. And this is all my own personal experience. Everyone will need to experiment and see what works best for them. Happy zzzz's!

This post was modified from its original form on 08 Apr, 18:52

9 years ago

Helen, great list....thank you! 

I also, wake very easily by light, so I sleep with a face mask and have earplugs if there is going to be noise and I use them as little as possible as they make my ears hurt after a few days.  I have found there are a variety mad of wax that can get very soft and they can be made smaller for smaller ears like mine.

After almost a whole life time of not sleeping well, I do find that I most often do sleep right through the night soundly.  I am sure good nutrition has a big part to play in that and I am sure the Chinese herbal foods that I consume daily have helped enormously as it was after consuming them for a couple of years that I noticed that I was not waking in the wee hours of the morning.

9 years ago

To improve your chances for a restful sleep, eat a light bedtime snack that is mostly carbohydrate with a small amount of protein. This high-carbohydrate, low-protein combination is thought to increase the availability of tryptophan to your brain, which helps it make more melatonin and serotonin.

Some examples of bedtime foods that help you sleep include:

  • A small bowl of oatmeal or cereal with low-fat milk
  • Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top
  • Half bagel or crackers with peanut butter, 1 ounce of cheese or a slice of deli turkey on top
  • Sliced apple with 1 ounce of cheese

However, avoid eating too much protein before bedtime. Protein-rich foods also contain tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates brain activity.

Other foods to avoid before bedtime:

  • Heavy, spicy foods, especially if you're prone to heartburn. Eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable when lying down.
  • Too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluids before bed can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night to use the bathroom.
  • Alcohol. Although it may initially make you feel sleepy, alcohol can cause unrestful sleep and frequent awakenings.
  • Caffeine. A stimulant, caffeine increases the activity of your nervous system, which makes falling asleep more difficult.

Nearly everyone has occasional sleepless nights. But if you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep that occurs on a regular or frequent basis, see your doctor to determine what might be the cause of your sleep problem and how it might be treated.

9 years ago

Thank you Carolyn

Good tips indeed. So often when people cannot sleep there is a simple solution and it is very often related to what they have been up to during the day food and activity wise.

great post
8 years ago

Oh thanks for the tips! I love this list! Thanks so much for sharing, I'm going to try these things out...

Often I have milk and honey but I did suspect I had possibly made this up somewhere along the way. Great to hear I didn't!

7 years ago

So often I hear people saying that they cannot sleep and one of the things that really helps lots of people is calcium as it feeds the nervous system but it needs to be an easily digestable one.

7 years ago

Do you have trouble sleeping?

On The Street
7 years ago

Do you have food for people on the street withouth any bed to sleep on the cold ?

Only cotton shirt and little cotton coat and a jeans?

7 years ago

Paulinada k-huh?

Thank you for posting this. I just ate a banana and hope it works...I have chronic insomnia. I'm also sending this post to a friend of mine who is having trouble sleeping

Thank you!!
7 years ago

Brilliant article and posts, my Mum's an insomniac, so will most certainly be fwd'n this to her.

Much appreciated.

A tip for you
7 years ago

Avoid heavy foods or spicy foods. Or any foods you know that may cause heartburn, making it difficult for you to sleep at night.

6 years ago

One thing I have been finding very helpful are CalTabs from Sunrider; I chew 3 of them if I have one of those nights that I wake up and find I am too awake to return to sleep at 4 am. I fall right asleep and stay sleeping for another few hours.

6 years ago

Randy F. Generally anything that is warm and sweet will help me sleep. Life Diana's comment above though I find Sunrider's Cal tabs very useful because of the easily absorb-able calcium.

6 years ago

Very true saying, I always used to try to fall in sleep with warm milk, cause this always used to give me the best sleepy night, that I feel so relax after getting up in the morning, rest of food, I haven't try yet, But I will surely do this too.

6 years ago

Thank you Petty for that tip; have to say I have never done that one as milk hasn't always agreed with me.

5 years ago

I recently heard that pumpkin seeds were helpful especially if you ate lots ground up; anyone know more about that?

5 years ago

Pumpkin seeds are excellent source of amino acids tryptophan and glutamate. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and niacin. Serotonin is a beneficial neuro-chemical often labeled as nature's sleeping pill.

5 years ago

Thank you Elaine for such a sweet reply. I thought all nuts and seeds had tryptophan in them and from what I have just found out is that pumpkin seeds have more. Did you know that 100 gm of pumpkin seeds contains .57 gm of tryptophan and 100 gm of milk contains .08 gm of tryptophan?!

5 years ago

Many months ago I read that walnuts can help you will a sleeping problem.  Learned something new here about the pumpkin seeds have the tryptophan. 

5 years ago

For me, anything sweet and warm will help my body relax and sleep, as long as it is not too heavy on the digestion or too sugary to give me a temporary high. Like Goldilocks - not too hard or too cold or too hard or too soft.  As some have mentioned the carbs allow tryptophan in the system to convert to serotonin which makes one happy and sleepy.

Foods to Help You Sleep
5 years ago
Great topic.  I just read through the whole discussion thread and found a lot of helpful information.  My husband is a restless sleeper, easily wakened, who sometimes had a lot of trouble getting back to sleep in the middle of the night.  I'm going to be serving up some of these suggestions the next time it happens.  Thanks to everyone who's posted here.
Ummm, How deep do you WANT to sleep?
5 years ago

There are plants here that will let you sleep. Getting up is another story... lol

You are getting very sleeeeepy...
5 years ago

Polyphasic sleep is a way to get sleep and keep attentive by using the body in a "smart" way. Mom's have known about it for centuries and sailors employ it when they are sailing something like a "Bermuda One, Two." You sleep then sail (or feed baby) and go back to sleep. You do it until the chore is done. If you can realize that your body needs rest and nourishment in small doses you realize another myth about life. 8 hours straight through is not necessary. I heard a well-known entrepreneur here and there say they only sleep 4 hours and it is quite enough for them. Having your own ideas about things sometimes is better than listening to the "mainstream."

My mom cant sleep
5 years ago

My mother has trouble sleeping and found it may be b/c of A-Fib. She would be up all night, struggling to sleep. Turkey doesn't help her sleep at all, and I can't remember what else. I will write down those foods you all mentioned above and see if she tried any of those. She tried watching tv, play games on pc, crossword puzzle, jigsaw puzzle. She doesn't eat lots of sweets nor fattenings foods, nor drink caffinated drinks that I am aware of. She is only 79, she force herself to exercise and stretching, making sure she eats good foods. Unfortunatly, she takes lots of meds due to her A-Fib, Leg Syndrome (not sure if I got this right?), and I forget what else. Also, everytime she lays in bed, her feet get cold very easily and the prevents her from able to sleep. She hates drinking herb teas, so I can't convince her to try it. Ginger powder in her foods doesn't help her feet as it did with mine.  If anyone have any similiar experiences and suggestions, please share them. Thx

5 years ago

Muscle relaxers inevitably CAUSE restless leg syndrome. Valerian root is a good sleep aid when it's that difficult, and you can get it in capsule form.

Warm feet insures a good sleep
5 years ago

TL what will help your mother a lot will be for her to get her feet warm and keep them warm while she is in bed. She needs to wear big warm socks. If her feet are cold before going to bed, she can soak them in a pail of hot water or use a hot water bottle or pad in bed to warm her feet up.

I just discovered fulvic acid.
5 years ago

It definitely helped me conk out last night and I slept like a baby. I woke up after about five hours of sleep and I'm feeling fresh and rested. I'm sold on the stuff.

5 years ago

Sarvo, what is fulvic acid?

Sorry just saw your comment months later.

5 years ago

there is melatonin in bananas...

I am sleeping very well.  Hello Summerannie !!

5 years ago

Valerian Root = Sleep Genie! LOL!

4 years ago
7 Foods that Help You Sleep Well

7 Foods that Help You Sleep Well

“Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.”
― Jean-Pierre Barral


If you find yourself staring at the ceiling late into the night, try these foods to help you drift into blissful sleep.

  1. A cup of chamomile tea. For centuries, chamomile has been harnessed as a herb that alleviates anxiety and promotes relaxation.
  2. A handful of almonds: soak almonds in clean water in the morning. At bedtime, slide off their skins and munch on them slowly. The magnesium in almonds relaxes muscles and their protein content keeps your sugar levels stable while you sleep.
  3. A bowl of oatmeal: Every now and then, I stir up oatmeal for dinner because it feels so warm and comforting. Only recently, I learned that I’m actually helping myself sleep better by doing so. The fiber and minerals in them do a wonderful job of easing the body and mind. Do avoid sugar in your oatmeal, though.
  4. Half a cup of cottage cheese: the slow-digesting proteins in cottage cheese/paneer keep your digestive system relaxed all night long. Besides, it contains tryptophan, the amino acid that plays a key role in promoting better sleep.
  5. A bunch of grapes: I was surprised to know that grapes are the only fruit that contain melatonin, the hormone famous for coming to the rescue of those who cannot sleep. Just munch grapes on their own or stir them into a bowl of yogurt for a lovely and soothing bedtime snack.
  6. A banana: the secret here is three-fold&mdashotassium, magnesium and tryptophan, which combine in one wonderful fruit to help you say ‘goodnight.’
  7. Toast: it’s hot, filling and comforting. And surprise, toast actually helps you sleep well, thanks to its being a trigger for insulin production, which in turn boosts the sleep-friendly brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan.

Read more:

This post was modified from its original form on 15 Dec, 18:58
4 years ago

An amazing post section filled with such great information from everyone. Never thought to look to food to help find a way into the land of slumber, but will try to remember some of these tips next time. Thanks so much everyone.

Milk is best
4 years ago

In Indian Medicine practice Ayurveda, Milk is best remedy for sleeplessness.

4 years ago

Have found that hot milk and chamomile tea does the trick


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