Sleep Inducing Foods

sleep inducing foods

Sleep inducing foods have natural properties that help you relax and prepare your body for a restful night's sleep. They contain the amino acid tryptophan that has a calming effect on the brain, which makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Your body converts tryptophan into the hormones seratonin and melatonin, both of which have a relaxing and sleep inducing effect. Tryptophan is found in many high-protein foods, but so is the amino acid tyrosine, which has the opposite effect.



To get the benefit of tryptophan's sleep inducing qualities, you need to choose a snack the combines foods that contain protein, as well as foods that are high in complex carbohydrates. In addition, including calcium in what you eat and drink before bedtime improves your body's absorption of tryptophan and melatonin production.

Therefore the combination of foods high in carbohydrates, containing a small amount of protein, and including calcium results in the most beneficial sleep inducing foods.

What are the Best Foods for Sleep?

  • Whole grain cereal with milk
  • A bowl of oatmeal with milk
  • Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread with a glass of milk
  • Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with a glass of milk
  • Oatmeal raisin cookies and milk
  • Apple with cheese
  • Yogurt with granola
  • Banana and a handful of almonds
  • Date or bran muffin with a glass of milk

Of course, you can mix-and-match many of the above suggestions to suit your own taste preferences. It's also important to eat your bedtime snack around one hour before you are planning to go to sleep.

Dinnertime Foods that Promote Restful Sleep

In addition to an appropriate bedtime snack, eating the right foods at dinner time can set the stage for a good nights' sleep.

Again, a combination of foods that are high in carbohydrates, plus foods that contain a certain amount of protein are the best way to go. Here are a few ideas to get you started... 

  • Eggs with cheese. Try scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, or a cheese omelet
  • Pasta dishes are great for this. Don't choose a spicy sauce though, a cream-based one is much better
  • A seafood or tuna salad with whole wheat rolls/crackers
  • Whole wheat pita bread with hummus or cottage cheese and roasted vegetables
  • A baked potato with cheese and sour cream
  • Turkey pot pie with mashed potatoes
  • Try a fruit pie and ice-cream, yogurt topped with granola (or slivered almonds) and honey, a banana split, or those faithful oatmeal raisin cookies for dessert!

Foods that Keep You Awake

While there are a number of helpful sleep inducing foods, there are also several foods and drinks that can keep you awake at night. If you're trying to improve your sleep, you need to stay away from the following.

  • Heavy, spicy foods such as chili or curries
  • Drinks or foods that contain caffeine, such as chocolate, tea, coffee, and colas
  • Alcohol. Although a "night cap" may help you to fall asleep quickly, it can also make you restless, cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, and generally interfere with your sleep
  • Foods that are high in sugar
  • Foods often contain high levels of MSG, which is a stimulant
  • High-fat and fried foods such as burgers and french fries
  • Smoked meats such as bacon, sausage, and ham
  • Soy products

Other things to avoid include cigarettes and cigars, as well as certain medications such as diuretics, cold medicines, and painkillers that contain caffeine. Some prescription medications can also keep you awake. Remember to ask your doctor about the side effects of any medication you are taking. 

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Benefits of Sleep
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Published by Jules Sowder








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