6 Best Foods and Herbs to Help You Sleep

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Attention, insomniacs or restless sleepers! Sleep. We all have had trouble sleeping at some point in our lives. Were you aware that some foods can help you sleep? So I answer some of the most popular questions I get asked “What can I eat to fall asleep fast? Do bananas help you sleep? Which food eaten as a bedtime snack may help promote sleep? Which fruit is best for sleeping?” I answer all these questions and give you a list of the best foods to eat to promote healthy sleep.

Cherry juice and kiwi in a glass great foods for sleep.

What Foods Can Help Me Fall Asleep Quickly?

Sleep 7 – 9 hours a night is the recommendation to not simply function, but to thrive in your life. You probably already know those nights that you barely get any sleep because: 

#1: You couldn’t shut your mind.

#2: You had the list of to-dos running through it.

#3: You had to get work done.

#4: Your kids kept you up.

So, You Could Hardly Focus on Anything. Because SLEEP – Just Didn’t Happen! 

To ensure our body gets enough rest nightly, here are some simple tips to follow.

4 Simple Sleep Tips That Actually Help!

  1. Ask your doctor how much sleep they recommend nightly – usually between 7 and 9 hours a night for optimal quality sleep. Every situation is different, especially when a person is dealing with chronic disease or illness.
  2. Take a sleep test to determine the quality of your sleep. Some people suffer from sleep apnea, which can affect your sleep and cause many health issues. Your doctor can order a full sleep study for you.
  3. Keep a sleep journal. Listen to your body and track the effects of not having enough sleep. Through journaling, you can determine sleep patterns, like stress at work, affecting your sleep quality that evening.
  4. Purchase a sleep monitor to accurately determine how much sleep you are currently getting, how many times you wake up, and how long you are actually in REM sleep.

You can read more on my 5 tips on how to get the best sleep here.

Healthy Diet for Sleep

Stress can lead to poor sleep. So does consuming too much caffeine.

Also, have you noticed when you are stressed, how you might reach for another cup of coffee or energy drink to help you push through a stressful work deadline?

All this can contribute to poor sleep.

If you’re eating a low carbohydrate diet, make sure to add some complex carbohydrates back into your diet.

Carbs are fuel for your brain. Without the proper fuel for your brain, you can suffer from endless nights of tossing and turning.

It’s important to eat foods that will provide your body the proper nourishment it needs for sleep.

A Harvard study claimed that “lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury.”

The report also mentioned that sleep deprivation could lead to health problems and even early mortality.

Wow! We need some sleep, like NOW!

If you’ve been wishing for just ONE night of sleep? What if you could have plenty of those nights? Wouldn’t that just be AMAZING

Your wish may be answered right here! Consider adding the following foods to your diet, especially if you find yourself tossing and turning at night, counting sheep to get a little shut-eye. 

Chamomile is one of the foods and herbs to help you sleep. Foods for sleep.

6 Best Foods & Herbs to Help You Get Better Sleep at Night

CHAMOMILE

Chamomile is commonly known as a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer. It has calming effects that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.

Have you heard that drinking chamomile tea can help you sleep?  Some chamomile tea can be a terrific idea before heading to bed to unwind, relax and de-stress.

BANANAS

So let’s answer that popular question, “Do bananas help you sleep?”

They contain tryptophan, which is a type of amino acid that provides your brain with serotonin. Serotonin helps make you sleepy.

This fruit is also a powerhouse of magnesium and potassium, which serve as natural sleep aids for your body.

If you are feeling wide awake late into the night, consider a banana to get yourself to sleep. You can even whip yourself up a thick banana shake before you go to bed.

Bananas are high-glycemic fruits, so consider adding some protein or healthy fat with that shake so sugar levels don’t skyrocket into the night.

Some of my favorites are coconut oil or almond butter, but you get to pick! 

Pistachios are delicious.

PISTACHIOS

Pistachios are not only tasty, but also a jackpot for sleep. They are jampacked with magnesium, protein, and vitamin B6, which play a major role in inducing sleep.

Consuming a healthy amount of pistachios before going to bed will knock you out like nothing else. You can eat them raw or add them to a glass of warm milk. 

However, more than one ounce of pistachios will have a reverse effect on your body. Eat in moderation to avoid exacerbating your sleep issues. 

KIWI

Fresh fruit like kiwis are excellent for sleep. Kiwis contain serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle.

Many people actually take serotonin supplements to help with sleep, but wouldn’t you rather eat something that tastes delicious to get the same effect?

Not only do kiwis contain serotonin, but they also may boost your sleep abilities due to their levels of vitamin C and carotenoids, which reduce inflammation.

When I feel I may not sleep at night, I eat 2 kiwis, and that usually does the job. Plus, they are great for constipation too.

Cherries in a wooden bowl.

TART CHERRIES AND TART CHERRY JUICE

Cherries are excellent for sleep because they contain the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a role in your sleep cycle.

They also contain tryptophan, which helps you relax, and melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep.

Tart cherry juice contains high levels of melatonin that regulate your internal clock and send signals for your body to get ready to sleep.

A study conducted by Louisiana State University found insomniacs who drank tart cherry juice increased their sleep time by 90 minutes!

I recommend drinking some tart cherry juice to help you sleep more deeply in the evening.

PUMPKIN PIE SPICE

Pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. These spices help reduce anxiety associated with stress.

They also have a sedating effect that helps lead to better sleep.

Try sprinkling some on your favorite hot drink, or making a pumpkin spice latte in the afternoon to help you fall asleep later in the evening.

You might also enjoy eating my chocolate pumpkin pie spice truffles as the perfect afternoon snack.

When Should You Stop Eating Before Bed?

You should stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. Avoid spicy and fatty foods late in the evening.

Which Foods May Affect Your Restful Sleep?

In addition to adding certain foods to help you sleep, there are some foods you might want to consider avoiding. Restless sleepers, look no further than… Caffeine!

This is one drink you might want to limit, especially in the late afternoon. The stimulant in coffee is diuretic, so you can lead to several trips to the bathroom and may disrupt your sleep.

Coffee can also worsen insomnia by stimulating the nervous system during waking hours.

If you are having trouble sleeping, don’t have caffeine or other stimulants within eight hours of your planned sleep time.

6 Best foods and herbs to help you sleep infographic by Eat Your Nutrition.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Let’s Discuss the Best Foods to Eat to Help You Sleep!

Which food or herb that helps you sleep better was a cheerful surprise?

Consider drinking some chamomile tea to help you sleep at night.

Let’s discuss food and sleep further in the comments.

I would also love to hear what you think, or take a photo and tag me @Eat_Your_Nutrition on Instagram. I love seeing your photos. #EatYourNutrition #LauraVillanueva

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Chamomile good for sleep
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Hi, I'm Laura Ann

Healthy gut nutritionist, your nutrition bestie. I created a community where I discuss all things nutrition & health.

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Eat the Rainbow to better health. Use this chart to help you choose colorful foods into your diet and begin to understand the health benefits. Colorful fruits and vegetables should be a staple in your daily diet. I make it easy to challenge you to add in 5 colors a day.

To read more about how to Eat the Rainbow - Tips for Eating a Colorful Diet, click here to read the full article. 

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Beets, red bell peppers, tomatoes, cherries, radishes, radicchio, red potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, watermelon, red apples, pomegrante, red grapes, blood oranges, red pears, red onions, red chili peppers, guava, pink and red grapefruit.

RED FOODS

Health benefits eating red food provides include: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich. May help lower the risk of heart related diseases, decrease the risk of certain cancers, and protect the skin from sun damage.

To read more about how to Eat the Rainbow - Tips for Eating a Colorful Diet, click here to read the full article. 

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Sweet potatoes, yellow & orange bell peppers, carrots, pumpkin, oranges, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, winter squash, lemon, mango, papaya, corn, yellow watermelon. yellow potatoes, yellow tomato, tangerines, clementines, tangelos, golden beets, butternut squash, rutabaga, yellow apple, yellow pear, persimmons, and pineapple.

ORANGE & YELLOW FOODS

Health benefits eating orange and yellow foods provides include: protect immune function, help lower cholesterol, healthy joint function, skin protection, reduce inflammation, and support a healthy heart.

To read more about how to Eat the Rainbow - Tips for Eating a Colorful Diet, click here to read the full article. 

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Asparagus, avocado, broccoli, broccoli rabe, broccolini, artichokes, grapes, cucumbers, snow peas, sugar snap peas, okra, pears, grapes, arugula, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, green bell peppers, green apples, celery, kiwi, honeydew, endive, celeriac, chayote squash, endive, green beans, green chili peppers, green onion, zucchini, leafy greens, limes, watercress.

GREEN FOODS

Health benefits eating green food provides include: help maintain a strong immune system, improves digestion, maintain a healthy gut microbiome, supports eyesight and healthy, strong bones. 

To read more about how to Eat the Rainbow - Tips for Eating a Colorful Diet, click here to read the full article. 

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Blueberries, blackberries, purple figs, purple grapes, eggplant, plums, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, purple endive, purple cauliflower, purple carrots, purple figs, purple and black grapes. 

PURPLE & BLUE FOODS

Health benefits eating blue and purple foods provides include: brain health, memory, and anti-aging, healthy heart function, improve urinary function including helping to prevent urinary tract infections. 

To read more about how to Eat the Rainbow - Tips for Eating a Colorful Diet, click here to read the full article. 

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Cauliflower, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, turnips, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, white corn, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, kohlrabi, white peaches, white nectarines, brown pears, Asian pears.

WHITE & BROWN FOODS

Health benefits eating white and brown foods provides include: maintaining a healthy colon, preventing ulcers, lower cholesterol, maintain healthy heart function, and immune support.

To read more about how to Eat the Rainbow - Tips for Eating a Colorful Diet, click here to read the full article. 

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