These are the 9 best foods and drinks you can drink before bed to improve your sleep quality, Almonds. Almonds are a type of tree nut with many health benefits. Of course, these aren't the only sneaky dietary sources of sleep-altering chemicals, Salas says. Here are some other foods and drinks you should limit or avoid before bed to sleep better.
Hearty dinners give you temporary sleepiness, but prolong digestion, which interferes with a good night's sleep. It is best to eat the largest meal before mid-afternoon and eat a light dinner of 500 calories or less. Include some chicken, extra lean meat, or fish at dinner to help curb mid-snack attacks. Tryptophan is an essential sleep-inducing amino acid found in some foods (read our list to find out which ones contain it).
The natural sugars in honey also stimulate sleep by transporting tryptophan through the bloodstream to the brain. 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. Eat a hard-boiled egg along with a cup of honey tea to start your sweet dreams. So, some good late night snacks might include a bowl of cereal and milk, nuts and crackers, or bread and cheese.
Almonds contain 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. Some research has analyzed the relationship between kiwi consumption and 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. Chamomile tea is available in most supermarkets and online. Walnuts are high in melatonin, but researchers have not yet demonstrated a strong association between eating these nuts and improving sleep. People can buy nuts at the grocery store, in bulk food stores, or online.
Tart cherries are also a good snack before bed because they are rich in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin E. 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. Serotonin is largely responsible for establishing a fixed sleep-wake cycle. 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. Available at select grocery stores and online. One of the best-known nutrients said to help promote quality sleep is tryptophan, an essential amino acid (amino acids are the building blocks of proteins) that plays a role in the production of serotonin and melatonin, thus promoting sleep, says Badaracco. In one study, people who ate two kiwis an hour before bedtime found that they fell asleep faster, slept more and slept better.
Last June, a systematic review that included 29 studies and was published in the journal Sleep Medicine Review concluded that eating a healthy diet was associated with better sleep quality. Most foods that can support sleep are nutritious and unlikely to cause harm, so they should be safe for anyone without allergies to enjoy them in moderation. Some research has found that calcium deficiencies are linked to insomnia and other sleep disorders, possibly because calcium is an integral part of the process of using tryptophan to produce melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Both diet and sleep are complex, which means that there is no magic formula or a single food that guarantees to help you sleep.
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. Research shows that people who eat these foods often gain weight and their sleep cycles tend to be disrupted. A clinical trial using supplements found that a combination of melatonin, magnesium and zinc helped older adults with insomnia sleep better.
Similarly, plant compounds known as isoflavones have been associated with better sleep quality and longer sleep duration. With up to 35% of American adults suffering from symptoms of insomnia, there is understandably a strong desire to take advantage of food and drink for better sleep. Reviewing your current sleep hygiene practices can be a starting point for better sleep, and because it involves considering your daytime and pre-bed routines, this review may offer an opportunity to incorporate foods that are good for sleep into an overall plan for more consistent rest and replenishment. It is best to eat a few hours before bedtime to prevent digestive problems from interfering with sleep and allow nutrients to be digested before the end of the night.