10 Best Foods To Help You Sleep And 4 That Won’t

Last Updated on 22 May. 2018

What you eat has a huge impact on your mood, energy levels and of course how well you sleep.

So I’ve put together this guide so you can find out what foods you can eat that will help you sleep.

I’ve got each food, what it helps, why it helps, how much you need and the best way to include it in your diet.

1. Spinach and Kale


Leafy greens!

The once hated food of your childhood seems to come up again and again as some sort of superfood.

Well with regards to sleep it’s no different.

Spinach and kale are packed full of magnesium which is essential to help you sleep. Also completely delicious if you cook it with some butter!

What it helps: General sleep quality

Why it helps: Magnesium

How Much do You Need: Half a bag of spinach cooked

2. Raw Honey

Raw Honey Natural Sleep Aid

Raw honey is one of the stranger ones to appear on the list.

But if you find yourself waking up about the same time every night raw honey might be able to help.

If you find yourself waking up at the same time every night then it’s likely to be about 8 hours after you had dinner. So your body is waking you up to tell you it’s expecting food.

Now raw honey is quite slow to digest so if you have some before bed it keeps your body thinking it’s full right through until the morning.

What It Helps: Waking up at the same time every night

Why It Helps: Slow to digest

How Much do You Need: About a tablespoonful

3. Banana

Another great food to help sleep!

It’s become fairly well known that bananas are a good source of potassium, but they’re also a great source of magnesium.

Not as much as spinach has it in but bananas also have tryptophan which is an amino acid that helps produce melatonin, and melatonin is a hormone that tells your body when it’s time to fall asleep.

What It Helps: Sleep quality and falling asleep

Why It Helps: Magnesium and tryptophan

How Much do You Need: Just one banana is plenty

4. Turkey

Turkey In Oven

Turkey is another great source of tryptophan, but it has the added value of lots of protein.

Plenty of protein will stop you waking up through the night feeling hungry and ensure you have energy left over in the morning.

The easiest way to get it into your diet is to swap chicken for it at dinner time. And it’s got the added bonus that turkey tends to be a little leaner than chicken is.

What It Help: Falling asleep and not waking up tired

Why It Helps: Tryptophan and protein

How Much do You Need: A regular dinner portion whatever that may be for you.

5. Almonds

Almonds For Sleep

Almonds have a lot going for them, aside from being delicious of course, another source of protein lots of healthy fats and a generous helping of magnesium and tryptophan.

Almonds make a great snack that you can have after dinner or before bed.

Like with any nut you don’t want to eat too much so a small handful will be more than enough, and enough to keep you full through the night.

What It Helps: Falling asleep

Why It Helps: Tryptophan and magnesium

How Much do You Need: A small handful

6. Tart Cherries

It has to be tart cherries and not sweetened or dried ones, because only the tart cherries seem to have melatonin in them.

The easiest way to get tart cherries into your diet is to drink tart cherry juice, which again needs to be tart and not normal cherry juice.

What It Helps: Falling Asleep

Why It Helps: Melatonin

How Much do You Need: A glass of tart cherry juice close to bed

7. Tomatoes


Tomatoes are another great source of melatonin with the added bonus of being much more common than tart cherries.

There’s a good chance you probably get tomatoes in your diet already if you eat Italian food as much as I do, delicious pasta sauce.

What It Helps: Falling Asleep

Why It Helps: Melatonin

How Much do You Need: Include it in cooking as part of a sauce and that should be plenty

8. Melon


Any type of melon!

Because dehydration is an absolute sleep killer, and melon (especially watermelon) is packed full of water but it doesn’t make you need to pee as badly as actually drinking some water does so it’s great to have before bed.

What It Helps: Falling asleep and waking up

Why It Helps: Water

How Much do You Need: depends on the size but a normal serving

9. Chamomile Tea

There are lots of great teas that can help you sleep, but chamomile is definitely the best. It’s shown to reduce stress and anxiety which in turn is bound to help you sleep.

And a nice hot drink is very soothing and actually raises your body temperature. And when you start to get sleepy your body starts cooling down so by raising it first your body starts to cool and that signals the brain that it’s time to go to bed.

What It Helps: Falling Asleep

Why It Helps: Relaxing

How Much do You Need: A normal mugs worth.

10. Milk

Does Milk Help You Sleep

Milk is the last recommendation on this list, milk is another food that can help you sleep. Now while it has tryptophan in it which can help sleep the deeper reason it helps is that it’s a soothing nostalgic drink.

Most people drank milk as children so when you have it as an adult you get transported back to that blissful time. And if you enjoyed hot milk as a child to help you sleep it’ll likely still help you as an adult because your body will go into that muscle memory.

What It Helps: Falling Asleep

Why It Helps: Childhood memories

How Much do You Need: A glass warm or cold

Let’s follow that up with some of the food that doesn’t help you sleep because the body is quite fickle really and needs a perfect balance of all the right things in order to get a good sleep.


Alcohol really doesn’t help you sleep, sure if you drink enough you’ll pass out but the actual quality of sleep after that is basically useless, and you get a hangover on top of it.

No, alcohol is far too much of a stimulant to help you get a good sleep and if you’re trying to fix your sleep for the better than steer clear of alcohol altogether.

Green Tea

I think everyone knows coffee is bad for sleep, but green tea is one of the more surprising drinks that’s packed full of caffeine.

Not nearly as much as coffee has but there is still caffeine in it so best to stay away from it pretty much from around midday.

Swap to a more herbal or fruit tea if you still want that delicious hot drink.


Fatty foods tend to take too long to digest, I know when I have something overly fatty like lamb I’m stuck lying awake for hours because my stomach is still trying to digest a lot of food.

I actually had lamb for lunch at about 2 one day and was lying awake at midnight still trying to digest!

But the reason it was that severe was definitely because of the volume of lamb I ate…


Chillies have a lot of good in them but the one problem they definitely have is that they can cause serious heartburn and indigestion.

And you guessed it neither of those things is any good if you’re trying to get a good sleep.

And there you have it!

Now go make yourself a delicious meal with some of these and see how you sleep. If it helps, be sure to come back and share this article!

Comments (0)

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    I accept the Privacy Policy