8 Foods to Help You Sleep Better – What to Eat When You Can’t Sleep

Still awake way past bedtime? Read on this article and discover the list of foods to help you sleep. Sleep is the cornerstone of our overall health, intertwining profoundly with our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

During this crucial rest period, our bodies undertake the essential tasks of repair, rejuvenation, and growth. However, despite its significant role, quality sleep remains elusive to many of us. Numerous individuals grapple with sleep deprivation or interrupted sleep, whether due to stress, lifestyle, or health conditions. 

Insufficient sleep leaves us feeling groggy and unfocused and can also give rise to many health complications. Are there foods for better sleep? You may be struck by discovering that the solution to better sleep may be right on your dinner plate. Yes, you heard it right. The food we consume can considerably impact our sleep patterns. It brings us to the critical question: what to eat to sleep better? or what are the foods for better sleep? 

In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve into this intriguing intersection of diet and sleep, exploring how particular foods can pave the way for a restful night’s sleep. So, if you’re interested in understanding which foods for better sleep should be on your shopping list, stay with us as we explore this intriguing topic further.

Factors Affecting a Person’s Sleep

Understanding the various factors affecting sleep is crucial to improving sleep quality. These factors range from lifestyle choices and environment to underlying health issues and diet. Foods for better sleep is a concept that addresses the nutritional aspect of these factors, acknowledging that what we consume can directly influence our sleep. As we work through the complex nature of our sleep patterns, the question of what to eat to sleep better becomes more important.

Here are some factors affecting a person’s sleep:

  1. Poor Diet

Just as arriving late to an interview can leave a negative impression, poor dietary habits can negatively impact your sleep quality. Certain foods can disrupt sleep, while others can help you sleep better. Identifying and incorporating these foods for better sleep can enhance your sleep quality significantly.

  1. Stress

Stress is like unexpected traffic that can make you late for an interview. It can keep your mind active at night, hindering you from sleeping or waking you up in the middle of the night.

  1. Lack of Exercise

Lack of physical activity is akin to showing up unprepared for an interview. Regular exercise improves sleep quality, while a sedentary lifestyle can lead to restless and interrupted sleep.

  1. Poor Sleep Environment

An unsuitable sleep environment can keep you awake like an uncomfortable interview room. Room temperature, noise levels, and light can significantly affect sleep quality.

  1. Health Conditions

Underlying health conditions can be like unexpected questions in an interview, throwing off your sleep routine. Conditions like sleep apnea, chronic pain, insomnia or certain medications can interfere with sleep.

  1. Irregular Sleep Schedule

An inconsistent sleep schedule is akin to changing the interview time without notice. Going to bed and waking up at different hours can cause your body’s internal clock to malfunction, resulting in poor sleep quality. Consistency is key to maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.

  1. Consumption of Stimulants

Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages before bedtime can be likened to a sudden distraction during an interview. These stimulants can disrupt your sleep cycle and prevent you from reaching the deeper, more restful stages of sleep.

The interplay between foods for better sleep and our overall sleep quality is undeniable. Gaining insights into what to eat to sleep better can potentially revolutionize our approach to sleep health, making it an essential factor to consider in sleep management.

What is the Role of Nutrition in Sleep?

Nutrition and sleep share a reciprocal relationship – each influences the other significantly. Getting good sleep can help regulate your appetite and food intake by keeping your hunger hormones in check. On the other hand, the foods you consume can directly affect your sleep quality and duration. It underlines the concept of foods for better sleep, emphasising dietary habits’ role in enhancing or undermining our sleep health.

Specific nutrients in certain foods to help you sleep interact with the body’s sleep-regulating mechanisms. However, knowing what to eat to sleep better is important, and so is understanding that maintaining a balanced diet and staying well-hydrated throughout the day is also vital to good sleep. Considering our food choices through the lens of sleep can make mindful dietary decisions that align with our sleep health goals.

Key Foods for Better Sleep

As we all know, consuming foods can significantly impact our physical health and well-being. However, the fascinating part is that there are certain foods to help you sleep. The concept of foods for better sleep introduces us to various nutrient-rich options that could enhance our sleep quality.

Here are some foods to consider if you’re thinking about what to eat to sleep better or what foods to help you sleep:


Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are more than a healthy snack. They’re rich in melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycle. Moreover, they are excellent magnesium and zinc sources, contributing to enhanced sleep quality. Incorporating these into your diet could promote peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. 

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

Keep a selection of nuts handy for a quick snack. Almonds, walnuts, or pistachios can also be added to your morning cereal or yoghurt, salad at lunch, or stir-fried dinner for some crunch.

Tart Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice

Both tart cherries and their juice are among the few food sources naturally rich in melatonin. Consumption of these has been linked to improved sleep duration and quality. Moreover, cherries’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can contribute to a healthier body and better sleep.

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

You could drink a glass of tart cherry juice in the evening or incorporate tart cherries into your desserts, salads, or as a sauce for main dishes.


This small fruit packs a punch for promoting better sleep. Kiwis are high in serotonin, which aids in regulating your sleep cycle. Moreover, with high levels of vitamins C and E and folate, kiwis can support overall health, aiding sleep.

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

Kiwis can be eaten alone or in a fruit salad. You could also try blending them into smoothies or topping your morning cereal or yoghurt.

Fatty Fish

Varieties like salmon, tuna, and mackerel offer high levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients have a unique ability to increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical directly linked to sleep regulation. Regular consumption of fatty fish can lead to better sleep quality and duration.

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

Incorporating fatty fish into your diet could be as simple as grilling or baking salmon for dinner. Tuna can be added to sandwiches, wraps, or salads, and mackerel can be enjoyed in a stew or curry.

Malted Milk and Nighttime Milk

Dairy products like milk have long been associated with good sleep. The tryptophan in milk can increase serotonin levels, thereby aiding sleep regulation. Malted milk, in particular, can reduce nighttime awakenings and increase sleep duration.

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

Consider swapping your evening coffee or tea for a glass of warm malted milk. You could also include dairy products in your dinners or have them as a nighttime snack.


Specifically, due to its high glycemic index, white rice can promote better sleep if consumed a few hours before bedtime. It’s believed to assist in producing tryptophan and amino acids that induce sleep.

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

Incorporate white rice into your meals – it can be paired with various proteins and vegetables. Try to eat it a few hours before bed to allow for digestion.


Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium, which can help relax muscles and promote sleep. Additionally, bananas contain tryptophan, which your body can convert to serotonin and melatonin, further promoting sleep.

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

Bananas can be enjoyed as a quick snack anytime. Add them to your breakfast cereal, smoothie, or yoghurt, or have them with a spoonful of nut butter as an evening snack.

Chamomile Tea

Not exactly a food, but chamomile tea is a sleep-inducing powerhouse. Chamomile tea has calming properties that promote sleepiness and help you fall asleep faster. Plus, it’s a hydrating option for a bedtime beverage.

How to Incorporate Into your Diet:

Consider swapping your regular tea or coffee with chamomile tea, especially closer to bedtime. It can become part of your wind-down routine before sleep.

Incorporating these foods to help you sleep into your diet could significantly change your sleep quality and overall health. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that a balanced diet and an overall healthy lifestyle are the cornerstones of good sleep hygiene.

From Plate to Pillow

Sleep, a fundamental human need, is indispensable to our overall well-being. Simultaneously, our diet exerts a significant influence on sleep quality. The relationship between the food we eat and how we sleep is important, hence the emphasis on foods for better sleep. It’s not merely about managing sleep disorders or difficulties but also about enhancing the quality of the sleep, we get each night.

Making informed dietary choices, including specific foods to help you sleep, should be part of a broader commitment to sleep hygiene and overall health. Understanding what to eat to sleep better can offer significant benefits regarding better sleep and overall well-being. It is particularly crucial for elders, who often have unique nutritional and health needs.

As we age, maintaining good sleep quality can become more challenging. Thus, understanding what to eat to sleep better can offer significant benefits regarding better sleep and overall well-being. After all, a good night’s sleep is a journey worth embarking upon in the quest for health and happiness.