Getting a good night's sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. But sometimes, it can be difficult to get the rest you need. Fortunately, there are certain foods and drinks that can help you sleep better. From almonds to kiwis, here are 9 of the best foods and drinks to consume before bedtime for improved sleep quality. Almonds are a type of tree nut with many health benefits, including high doses of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
A 1-ounce (oz) serving of whole almonds also contains 77 milligrams (mg) of magnesium and 76 mg of calcium, two minerals that can help promote muscle relaxation and sleep. Almonds are available to purchase at grocery stores, bulk food stores, and online. Tryptophan is an essential sleep-inducing amino acid found in some foods. Eating a hard-boiled egg along with a cup of honey tea can help you start your sweet dreams. Other good late night snacks include a bowl of cereal and milk, nuts and crackers, or bread and cheese. Chamomile herb has calming effects on the brain and body, and a cup of hot tea (without caffeine) before bed may be just what you need to fall asleep and soundly.
The natural sugars in honey also stimulate sleep by transporting tryptophan through the bloodstream to the brain. Kiwis are another great food for better sleep. In a small study, people who ate two kiwis 1 hour before bedtime for 4 weeks experienced an improvement in total sleep time and sleep efficiency, and also took less time to fall asleep. Tart cherries are rich in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin E, making them a good snack before bed. Oily fish can help improve sleep because they are a good source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, two nutrients that help regulate serotonin. Barley grass powder is rich in several compounds that promote sleep, including GABA, calcium, tryptophan, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. People can mix barley grass powder into smoothies, scrambled eggs, salad dressings, and soups. Research shows that this nutrient plays a role in regulating sleep and, in one study, after consuming salmon three times a week for five months, participants experienced better sleep and had significantly higher vitamin D levels than those who did not eat salmon. In one study, people who drank two servings of a cup of sour cherry juice a day were found to have more total sleep time and higher sleep efficiency. A clinical trial using supplements found that a combination of melatonin, magnesium and zinc helped older adults with insomnia sleep better.
Plant compounds known as isoflavones have also been associated with better sleep quality and longer sleep duration. Eating a healthy diet is associated with better sleep quality. Most foods that can support sleep are nutritious and unlikely to cause harm. Eating a few hours before bedtime can prevent digestive problems from interfering with sleep and allow nutrients to be digested before the end of the night.