The Best Food And Drinks For Better Sleep

Updated on July 25, 2023

A restful night’s sleep has become a precious commodity in this fast-paced life. Thus, many individuals find achieving deep, uninterrupted slumber increasingly challenging. While numerous factors can contribute to sleep disturbances, one often overlooked aspect is the role of food and drinks in promoting better sleep.  

This article will explore the best food and drinks that can help enhance sleep quality and provide some insights into how these choices can positively influence one’s nightly rest.  

The Science Behind Food And Sleep 

By examining the scientific evidence, this article delves into the relationship between diet consumption and quality of rest. Recent studies have revealed that certain dietary habits can have a significant effect on producing better sleep. For instance, consuming foods with high tryptophan content has been found to promote serotonin production in the brain, which helps induce relaxation.  

Furthermore, consumption of caffeine during the day has also been linked to poorer sleep quality, particularly in individuals sensitive to its effects. Caffeine disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle by blocking adenosine receptors which causes feelings of drowsiness and fatigue. Therefore, limiting or avoiding intake is suggested for optimal restful sleep patterns.   

Drinks That Promote Better Sleep 

While certain drinks may disrupt your sleep patterns, others have the power to promote relaxation and support a deep and rejuvenating slumber. Here are some drink suggestions you can choose from: 

  1. Warm Milk 

Consuming warm milk or protein shakes before bed has been linked to improved quality of sleep. It’s believed that the l-tryptophan found in milk helps to induce relaxation, and its calcium content helps support healthy melatonin production. Plus, warm milk is a comforting and soothing beverage that can help promote relaxation and calmness for better sleep.  

  1. Chamomile Tea 

Chamomile tea has long been a traditional remedy for relaxation and restful sleep. It is an herb derived from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family, scientifically known as Matricaria chamomilla. Chamomile has a slight apple-like taste and can be steeped in hot water for several minutes before consuming.  

Research suggests that chamomile tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to receptors in the brain that may induce relaxation and reduce anxiety levels. It’s also thought to have bioactive compounds, including bisabolol, which can help relax muscles and relieve insomnia. 

  1. Tart Cherry Juice 

Tart cherry juice is a popular beverage with various antioxidants and compounds that are thought to possess health benefits. Studies have found that drinking tart cherry juice can help promote better sleep, improve alertness during the day, and reduce inflammation. 

The main reason why tart cherry juice is beneficial for sleep is because it’s rich in melatonin, which helps regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Moreover, tart cherries are high in fiber and vitamins C and A, as well as other essential minerals like iron, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus  

  1. Golden Milk 

Golden Milk is a beverage that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to support overall health and well-being. It typically consists of milk and turmeric, with other spices added, such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. The addition of these spices enhances the flavor of the drink while providing additional health benefits.  

This drink is said to be beneficial for sleep due to its calming effect on the body and mind. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, which helps reduce stress levels, while ginger helps regulate serotonin levels. Nutmeg has long been used as a sedative due to its calming properties. It can help induce sleepiness when consumed before bedtime.  

  1. Lavender Infused Drinks 

Lavender-infused drinks are popular remedies for promoting restful sleep, utilizing the calming properties of lavender to induce relaxation. It is a flowering plant with many species and varieties. Lavender has been used since ancient times for its calming effects and as an ingredient in traditional medicine. Furthermore, it’s known to have sedative qualities, which makes it an excellent choice for those looking to improve their sleep quality.  

Lavender can be infused into hot drinks such as herbal teas or warm milk and cold beverages like smoothies and juices. When consumed before bedtime, the drink’s calming properties help relax the body and mind, while its aroma helps prepare one for sleep.  

  1. Herbal Teas 

Herbal teas are a popular beverage choice due to their potential health benefits and pleasant taste. Generally speaking, herbal teas are caffeine free and made from a blend of different herbs, fruits, flowers, or seeds. Some of the most common herbs used include chamomile, peppermint, ginger, hibiscus, and lemon balm, which improve sleep quality. 

Foods That Promote Better Sleep 

The saying ‘you are what you eat’ holds true not only for your physical well-being but also for your sleep quality. The foods you consume can have a profound impact on your ability to achieve a restful night’s sleep. Here are some food suggestions to guide you: 

  1. Complex Carbohydrates 

A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and legumes, can provide essential nutrients that may help promote better sleep. Complex carbohydrates are a slow-digesting energy source that slowly releases glucose into the bloodstream at night, helping to keep your blood sugar levels steady while you sleep.  

  1. Foods Rich In Tryptophan 

Tryptophan is an important component of proteins and one of the nine essential amino acids humans require for growth and development. It also serves as a precursor for synthesizing serotonin and melatonin, both hormones that can help regulate sleep patterns. Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, legumes such as chickpeas or lentils, soy products such as tofu and tempeh, oats, bananas, and fish. 

  1. Foods With Magnesium 

Magnesium is an essential mineral in many bodily functions found in various foods. Many plant-based foods are high in magnesium, including the following: 

  • Whole grains 
  • Legumes 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 

In addition to these plant-based sources, seafood and dairy products also contain magnesium. Some of the most popular sources include oysters, crab, salmon, yogurt, and milk. Magnesium is also found in dark chocolate and other cocoa products. It can be used as a supplement or taken through dietary means to help improve sleep quality.  Moreover, L’threonate magnesium for sleep has gained attention in recent years due to its potential to support sleep quality. Some studies have suggested that this particular form of magnesium may have a positive impact on sleep patterns and help alleviate sleep disturbances.

  1. Melatonin-Boosting Foods 

Melatonin is a hormone the body produces that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Eating certain foods can help increase the amount of naturally produced melatonin in the body. This can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep longer. 

Some of the best foods that can boost melatonin production are tart cherries, bananas, walnuts, oats, sweet corn, oranges, and tomatoes. Tart cherries contain high amounts of melatonin as well as other antioxidants that have been associated with improved sleep quality. Bananas are also known for their ability to increase serotonin levels, boosting melatonin production.   

  1. Sleep-Enhancing Fruits 
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Consuming a selection of fruits has also been associated with improved sleep quality and duration. Fruits such as bananas, kiwis, and cherries are all packed with essential vitamins and minerals to help you get a better night’s rest. Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin, a hormone known to promote relaxation.  

Kiwis have also been shown to improve sleep duration by assisting people to fall asleep faster due to their high vitamin C content and antioxidants. Cherries are rich in melatonin, a hormone produced naturally by the body to regulate your sleep cycle. Eating these fruits in moderation before bed could help you drift off into a peaceful slumber.  

The Takeaway 

Sleep is essential for the body’s health and well-being. Hence, it’s important to understand what types of food and drinks can help promote better rest. Certain beverages like chamomile tea, warm milk, herbal teas, and alcohol can help relax the body before bed.  

Furthermore, certain foods like turkey, bananas, oatmeal, and nuts can also be a valuable part of one’s pre-bedtime snack that helps encourage better sleep. So, it would be best to consider the tips mentioned above regarding food and drink consumption before bed, as it can positively impact one’s quality of sleep overall.