A handful of walnuts as a bedtime snack will have you snoozing in no time. Walnuts are high in tryptophan, which brings on melatonin and serotonin production and has its own source of melatonin. They’re also high in protein, so you’ll be sleeping and building muscle at the same time. Walnuts also have a host of other benefits since it's a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. This promotes a healthy brain and heart. It's no surprise that walnuts are recognized by the American Heart Association as a great snack. However, if you're worried about your waistline, go easy on the walnuts—while healthy and delicious, they're also high in calories (like most nut varieties). Grab yourself an ounce (around 14 halves) and get ready for a good night's sleep!
This superfood just keeps proving its value again and again. On top of a slew of other nutrients, kale is also full of calcium. That calcium helps tryptophan produce melatonin and serotonin in the brain. A kale salad with your main meal, kale added to a smoothie, or sauteed kale as your side will all make falling asleep that much easier.
These popular little nuts are high in magnesium, which is a champ at helping you fall asleep and stay that way. So, eat some before you brush your teeth and hit the pillow. You can also eat a combo of almonds and walnuts for even better sleep.
There’s a reason your mom gave you a glass of milk before bed—the calcium in dairy products makes it easier for your brain to absorb tryptophan and fall asleep. It doesn’t matter if you have a glass of milk, some cheese, or yogurt—they’ll all lull you to slumber.
Chamomile Tea with Honey
Chamomile tea is known for helping you relax, and thus doze off with less hassle—and adding a spoonful of honey helps too. Honey ups your insulin, which in turn aids tryptophan and results in better sleep.
Mercury isn’t the only thing this fish has. Salmon is also high in vitamin B6, which is necessary for your body to produce melatonin and serotonin. Eating salmon for dinner can make it easier for you to fall asleep when bedtime rolls around. If you don’t like salmon, tuna and halibut are also high in B6.
Aside from the fact rice is filling and a full belly makes you sleepy, it also has a high glycemic index. This leads to a spike in insulin, which means less time spent counting sheep. So go on and splurge on the fried rice.
Hummus & Crackers
Hummus is made from chickpeas, and these are a good source of tryptophan. Eat hummus with whole grain crackers (the carbs help the tryptophan do it’s job) as a small snack before bed or before a nap.
It turns out there’s a reason a bowl of cereal always sounds good at night. The carbs in cereal and the calcium in milk will increase the production of all those sleep hormones and have you snoring before you know it.
Now you have a good excuse to splurge on that lobster dinner! Lobster (and shrimp) is high in tryptophan. Bonus: dip your lobster into real melted butter and the added calcium will help you fall asleep even easier.
Turkey is the classic “sleepy-time” food. It has tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin to help relax your body, and a relaxed body is a sleepy body.
Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin. Melatonin is the chemical that helps your body fall asleep, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, grab some cherries or drink some tart cherry juice.
Bananas are full of potassium and magnesium, which are natural muscle relaxants. These delicious fruits also have tryptophan, which converts to serotonin to help your body relax.
Sweet potatoes are known by scientists to help the body produce serotonin, but that isn’t all. They also contain magnesium and zinc, which are two micronutrients that create melatonin.
If turkey doesn’t knock you out, elk may be a better option. It has twice the tryptophan of turkey, which produces even more serotonin and melatonin for your body. That’s a delicious fact I can get behind.
Kiwi is a fantastic antioxidant, but it’s also high in serotonin. Studies show that participants who ate kiwi before bed were more likely to sleep better throughout the night. Just eat two kiwifruits an hour before bed.
Soyfoods naturally contain tryptophan, but they also have isoflavones. Several studies have found that isoflavones can help the body sleep better at night, even for those that suffer from insomnia.
Pistachios are a vitamin jackpot. They contain B6, protein, and magnesium – all of which can help you sleep soundly at night. Just be careful not to eat too many because they are high in calories.
Prunes may not be the most exotic and appetizing food out there, but it’s certainly one of the best. On top of assisting the digestive system, prunes can also help you sleep. They’re high in B6, calcium, and magnesium, which help make melatonin.
Dark chocolate has a bit of caffeine, but it has even more serotonin. Milk chocolate doesn’t contain serotonin, making dark chocolate have the unique benefit of helping you sleep while curbing your sweet tooth.