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The 10 Best Foods to Help You Sleep Soundly

Old wives’ tales suggest drinking warm milk before going to bed to improve sleep, but can certain foods really improve your chances of falling and staying sleep?

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Without a doubt, there are times when you will find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Certain sleep hygiene habits will promote better sleep, such as using your bedroom only for sex and sleep (rather than watching TV), limiting screen time before bed, and eliminating all lights during the night.

In addition to good sleep hygiene, certain foods, too, can play a role in your quality of sleep.

Chemicals and Compounds for Better Sleep

Some foods contain chemicals and compounds that promote better sleep, including:

  • Tryptophan
  • GABA
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Melatonin
  • Pyridoxine
  • L-ornithin
  • Hexadecanoic acid

10 Foods to Help You Sleep Well

10 foods that contain these compounds include:

  1. barley grass
  2. mangoes
  3. whole grains
  4. asparagus
  5. lettuce
  6. cherries
  7. kiwifruits
  8. walnuts
  9. turkey
  10. milk

Of these foods, the two most commonly recognized for their role in promoting sleep are barley grass, which is high in GAGA and calcium, and turkey which is high in tryptophan.

Warm milk is also high in tryptophan, meaning it does in fact work to improve sleep. Mangoes are another great food option that aid sleep due to their high pyridoxine (B6) levels, which improve the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in your brain.

Green Tea

Green tea even contains a compound L-theanine, an amino acid that reduces anxiety and improves relaxation, but green tea can also contain small amounts of caffeine, which may be counterproductive. Some people find green tea relaxing while others may find the small amount of caffeine too stimulating.


Melatonin is a hormone that plays an important role in the regulation of your sleep cycles (circadian rhythm).

Studies show that supplementing with melatonin can help you relax, fall asleep, support a normal sleep cycle, fight jet-lag and in higher amounts provide antioxidant support.

Sometimes it’s hard to stop thinking about every little thing when you lie in bed or are under stress. Melatonin aids in helping to clear your mind, relaxes your body and allows you to fall asleep and maintain a deep, restful sleep. You wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Overall, a healthy diet is the key to a good night’s sleep. Reducing caffeine, sugar, and other stimulants helps to improve your ability to fall asleep, while maintaining a healthy weight can significantly improve your quality of sleep by reducing symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea.

The Daily Meal. (2012). Drinks to help you sleep. Fox News. Retrieved on 12/23/17 from

Zeng, Y., Yang, J., Du, J., Pu, X., Yang, X., Yang, S., & Yang, T. (2014). Strategies of Functional Foods Promote Sleep in Human Being. Current Signal Transduction Therapy, 9(3), 148–155.

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