Getting a good night’s sleep is very important to your overall health.
It can reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases keep your brain healthy and boost your immune system.
It is generally recommended that you get 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night although many people struggle to get enough sleep.
There are many strategies you can use to promote good sleep including changing your diet as certain foods and drinks have sleep-promoting properties.
Here are 9 of the best foods and drinks you can enjoy before bed to improve your sleep quality.
Almonds are a tree nut with many health benefits.
They’re an excellent source of many nutrients as 1 ounce (28 grams) of dry-roasted nuts contains 18 percent of an adult’s daily value for phosphorus and 23 percent of riboflavin.
One ounce also provides 25% of men’s daily manganese needs and 31% of women’s daily manganese needs.
Regular consumption of almonds is associated with a reduced risk of some chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is due to their healthy monounsaturated fat fiber and antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect your cells from harmful inflammation that can lead to these chronic diseases.
Almonds are also claimed to help improve sleep quality. This is because almonds and several other nuts are sources of melatonin. Melatonin regulates your internal clock and signals your body to prepare for sleep.
Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium providing 19% of your daily needs in just 1 ounce. Adequate intake of magnesium may help improve sleep quality especially for those with insomnia.
Magnesium’s role in promoting sleep is thought to be related to its ability to reduce inflammation. Additionally it may help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is known to disrupt sleep.
However although there is little research on almonds and sleep.
One study examined the effects of feeding rats 400 milligrams (mg) of almond extract. The study found that the mice slept longer and deeper than mice that did not eat the almond extract.
The potential sleep-related effects of almonds are promising but more extensive human research is needed.
If you want to eat almonds before bed to see if they’re affecting your sleep quality a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving or a small amount of almonds should suffice.
Almonds are a source of melatonin and the sleep-promoting mineral magnesium two properties that may make them a good food to eat before bed.
Turkey is delicious and nutritious.
It’s high in protein with roast turkey providing nearly 8 grams per ounce (28 grams). Protein is important for keeping muscles strong and regulating appetite.
Additionally turkey is a moderate source of some vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin and phosphorus. It is an excellent source of selenium providing 56% of the Daily Value (DV) in a 3-ounce serving.
Turkey has properties that may explain why some people feel tired after eating it or think it promotes drowsiness. Most notably it contains the amino acid tryptophan which increases melatonin production.
The protein in turkey may also help promote fatigue. Evidence suggests that eating a moderate amount of protein before bed is associated with better sleep quality including less waking up throughout the night.
More research is needed to confirm the potential role of turkey in improving sleep.
Turkey may be a good food to eat before bed because it contains a lot of protein and tryptophan both of which can contribute to fatigue.
Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that can provide a variety of health benefits.
It is known for its flavonoids. Flavonoids are a class of antioxidants that reduce inflammation that often leads to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
There is also some evidence that drinking chamomile tea can boost the immune system reduce anxiety and depression and improve skin health. Additionally chamomile tea has some unique properties that can improve sleep quality.
Chamomile tea in particular contains apigenin. This antioxidant binds to certain receptors in the brain and may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
A 2011 study of 34 adults found that those who took 270 mg of chamomile extract twice a day for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster and woke up at night compared to those who did not consume chamomile extract less often.
Another study found that women who drank chamomile tea for 2 weeks reported improved sleep quality compared to those who did not drink tea.
Those who drank chamomile tea also experienced fewer depressive symptoms commonly associated with sleep problems.
If you want to improve sleep quality drinking chamomile tea before bed is certainly worth a try.
Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that can promote sleepiness and drinking it has been shown to improve overall sleep quality.
Kiwi is a low-calorie and nutrient-dense fruit.
One fruit contains only 42 calories and macronutrients including 71% of the DV for vitamin C. It provides 23% and 31% of the daily vitamin K requirement for men and women respectively.
It contains decent amounts of folate and potassium as well as several trace minerals.
Additionally eating kiwi may benefit your digestive health reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. These effects are due to their high supply of fiber and carotenoid antioxidants.
Kiwis may also be one of the best foods before bed according to research into their potential to improve sleep quality.
In a 4-week study 24 adults consumed two kiwis an hour before bed each night. At the end of the study participants fell asleep 42 percent faster than when they ate nothing before bed.
In addition their ability to sleep through the night without waking up increased by 5% while their total sleep time increased by 13%.
The sleep-promoting effects of kiwifruit are sometimes attributed to serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps regulate sleep cycles.
It has also been suggested that the anti-inflammatory antioxidants in kiwi such as vitamin C and carotenoids may be partly responsible for its sleep-promoting effects (34 36).
More scientific evidence is needed to determine the effects of kiwifruit on improving sleep. Still eating 1-2 medium-sized kiwis before bed may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Kiwifruit is rich in serotonin and antioxidants and eating it before bed can improve sleep quality.
Tart cherry juice has some impressive health benefits.
First it provides moderate amounts of some important nutrients such as magnesium and phosphorus. It is also a good source of potassium.
An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving contains 17 percent of the daily potassium requirement for women and 13 percent for men.
Plus it’s rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins and flavonols.
Tart cherry juice is also known to promote sleepiness and it has even been studied for its role in relieving insomnia. For these reasons drinking tart cherry juice before bed may improve the quality of your sleep.
The sleep-promoting effects of tart cherry juice are due to its high levels of melatonin.
In one small study adults with insomnia drank 8 ounces (240 mL) of tart cherry juice twice a day for 2 weeks. They slept 84 minutes longer and slept better than when they didn’t drink juice.
While these results are promising more extensive research is needed to confirm the role of tart cherry juice in improving sleep and preventing insomnia.
Still if you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night tart cherry juice before bed is worth a try.
Tart cherry juice contains the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin which may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Fatty fish like salmon tuna and mackerel are very healthy. What makes them special is their high amount of vitamin D.
For example a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of sockeye salmon contains 570 international units (IU) of vitamin D. This is 71% of DV. A similar serving of farmed rainbow trout contains 81% of the DV.
Additionally fatty fish is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
EPA and DPA are known for reducing inflammation. In addition omega-3 fatty acids can prevent heart disease and promote brain health.
The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fatty fish has the potential to improve sleep quality as both have been shown to increase serotonin production.
In one study men who ate 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of Atlantic salmon three times a week for 6 months fell asleep 10 minutes faster than men who ate chicken beef or pork.
This effect is thought to be the result of vitamin D. Vitamin D levels were higher in the fish group which was associated with a significant improvement in sleep quality.
Eating a few ounces of fatty fish before bed can help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. More research is needed to draw firm conclusions about the ability of fatty fish to improve sleep.
Fatty fish is a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids both of which have sleep-improving properties.
Walnuts are a popular type of tree nut.
They’re packed with nutrients providing more than 19 vitamins and minerals and 1.9 grams of fiber in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. Walnuts are especially rich in magnesium phosphorus manganese and copper.
Additionally walnuts are a great source of healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid. They also provide 4.3 grams of protein per ounce which may help reduce appetite.
Walnuts can also promote heart health. They have been studied for their ability to reduce high cholesterol levels a major risk factor for heart disease.
What’s more some researchers claim that eating walnuts can improve sleep quality because they are one of the best food sources of melatonin.
The fatty acid profile of walnuts may also help improve sleep. They provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) an omega-3 fatty acid that is converted into DHA in the body. DHA may increase serotonin production.
There isn’t much evidence to support the claim that walnuts improve sleep. In fact no research has specifically looked at their role in promoting sleep.
Whether or not you’re having trouble falling asleep eating some walnuts before bed may help. About a handful of walnuts should suffice.
Walnuts have some properties that can promote better sleep. For example they are a great source of melatonin and healthy fats.
Passionflower tea is another herbal tea traditionally used to treat a variety of health ailments.
It is a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants. Flavonoid antioxidants are known for their role in reducing inflammation boosting immune health and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Additionally passionflower tea has been studied for its potential to reduce anxiety.
The antioxidant apigenin may be the reason passionflower reduces anxiety. Apigenin produces a sedative effect by binding to certain receptors in the brain.
There is also some evidence that passionflower increases the production of the brain chemical gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA inhibits other stress-causing brain chemicals such as glutamate.
The calming properties of passionflower tea may promote drowsiness so drinking it before bed may be beneficial.
In a 7-day study 41 adults drank a cup of passionflower tea before bed. They rated sleep quality significantly better with tea than without tea.
More research is needed to determine whether passionflower can promote sleep.
Passionflower tea contains apigenin which has the ability to increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) production. This may affect sleep.
White rice is a grain widely used as a staple food in many countries.
The main difference between white and brown rice is that white rice has the bran and germ removed. This makes it low in fiber nutrients and antioxidants.
Still white rice contains a fair amount of some vitamins and minerals.
A 4-ounce (79-gram) serving of white rice provides 19 percent of your daily folate requirement. It also provides 21% of men’s daily thiamine needs and 22% of women’s daily thiamine needs.
A 4-ounce (79-gram) serving of long-grain white rice contains 13% of the DV for manganese.
White rice is high in carbohydrates providing 22 grams per 4-ounce (79-gram) serving. Its carbohydrate content and lack of fiber contribute to its high glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food increases blood sugar.
It has been suggested that eating high-GI foods such as white rice at least 1 hour before bed may help improve sleep quality.
One study compared the sleep habits of 1,848 people based on their intake of rice bread or noodles. Compared with bread or noodles the higher the rice intake the longer the sleep time and the longer the sleep time.
Although eating white rice may have a potential role in promoting sleep it is best eaten in moderation due to its relatively low fiber and nutrient content.
Because white rice has a high glycemic index (GI) it may be beneficial to consume white rice before bed. A high GI can promote better sleep.
Several other foods and drinks have sleep-promoting properties. For example they may contain high amounts of nutrients such as tryptophan.
However in some cases little research has been done on their specific effects on sleep.
- Dairy products: Dairy products such as a cup of milk cheese and plain yogurt are known sources of tryptophan. Milk has been shown to improve sleep in older adults especially when paired with light exercise.
- Bananas: Banana peels contain tryptophan and the fruit itself is a moderate source of magnesium. Both of these properties can help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Oatmeal: Similar to rice oatmeal is high in carbohydrates and more fiber and has been reported to cause drowsiness when consumed before bed. Additionally oats are a known source of melatonin.
Other foods and beverages such as dairy bananas and oatmeal also contain nutrients known to improve sleep quality. However specific research on their effects on sleep may be limited.
Getting enough sleep is very important to your health.
Several foods and drinks may help. This is because they contain hormones and brain chemicals that regulate sleep such as melatonin and serotonin.
Some foods and drinks contain high amounts of specific antioxidants and nutrients such as magnesium and melatonin which are known to enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep faster or sleep longer.
To reap the benefits of sleep-promoting foods and beverages it is best to consume them 2-3 hours before bedtime. Eating before bed can cause digestive problems like acid reflux.
Overall more research is needed to summarize the specific roles of foods and beverages in promoting sleep but their known effects are very promising.
The 9 Best Foods and Drinks Before Bed