The Best Foods for…SLEEP!

I was always amazed at how many people struggle with sleep… until I became one.  True, pregnancy is most likely the culprit in my case, but not necessarily so for others.  So if you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, check this out…

Before I get into some great foods for a good night’s sleep, let’s list off the ‘ol favorite tips:

  • Get Active! Moving your body during the day will help it rest more easily at night.
  • Know You Optimum Sleeping Conditions. Sure, snuggling with the pup is tempting, but does her snoring or spastic moves wake you up? Maybe she’d be better off beside the bed.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Sugar Late in the Day. Both of these stimulants can keep you up, even if you eat them hours before bedtime.
  • No Alcohol or Cigarettes. Alcohol might knock you out, but it won’t be quality sleep.  When’s the last time you woke up refreshed after a night of partying? And cigarettes are a stimulant, whether you believe it or not.

Ok… now to the foods!

  • Chia Seeds – these powerful little nutrition bombs are high in tryptophan, which raises melatonin and serotonin levels.  Eating just 2 ounces a couple hours before bed can help promote a restful night’s sleep.

  • Cereal & Milk – carbohydrates help increase the level of tryptophan found in dairy products. Carbs are also easy to digest and comforting, which can help ease you into relaxation.  Skip the high-sugar varieties though.

  • Wheat Germ – Wheat germ can help decrease stress levels and is a fabulous source of vitamin B6.  Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp in yogurt (a tryptophan source!) about 2 hours before bedtime.

  • Cherries – Cherries are full of melatonin, the sleep hormone.  Eat a handful a couple hours before bed, or sip on cherry juice (if you can find it without added sugars).


A formula to remember, in case you forget these ‘magical’ sleep foods in a bind…

Carbs + Protein = serotonin

…which = SLEEP :)

Or, go for the granddaddy and combine all of the above!  A bowl of cereal, topped with chia seeds and wheat germ, sliced cherries and cold milk. 😉

What’s your best ‘good night’s sleep’ tip?



  1. says

    When I am having a hard time falling asleep .. I often sit in child’s pose in my bed for about 5 minutes. A strange as it seems.. it calms my entire body and gives me a very subdued feeling. When I fully lay back down, i feel like I am sleeping on a cloud! It helps me fall asleep very quickly!

  2. says

    Celestial Seasonings makes an Extra Sleepytime tea that contains valerian root, (sp) and that always makes me very relaxed and ready for bed. The downside is that I’m drinking something right before bed so I will probably need to get up to pee.. of course, I usually do this even when I don’t drink anything so maybe it’s just me :)

  3. says

    Great tips! I always keep my room as cool and dark as possible to help me fall asleep.

    It was so good to see you last night :)

  4. says

    I didn’t know cherries were high in melatonin!

    My best tip — turning the tv off, doing my routine: teeth clean, face clean, etc, dark bedroom and telling myself “think about these things tomorrow, sleep now” — I do this almost every night and it really helps!

  5. says

    I used to always crave cereal in milk when I was younger before I went to bed (I never wanted it for breakfast)…maybe that was my body’s way of telling me that I needed a good night’s sleep!

    I know it’s bad for the environment and more than a little weird, but I HAVE to sleep with a fan running. I can’t sleep when it’s silent and I every little noise prevents me from falling asleep, so the soothing sound of a fan just knocks me out.

  6. says

    Great post! I’ve been having trouble lately where I get really tired about 9pm and then get a second wind after 10 that keeps me from falling asleep at my actual bed time. Boo.

  7. says

    I had no idea that chia seeds to lead to sleepiness! I need to stop eating them in the morning! Haha. I make sure that my bedroom is as tranquil as possible without the noise of a TV or the glare of lights. I’ve always wanted to try the trick of spraying lavendar on my pillow case, but I never have. I am sure it is soothing though. :)

  8. says

    Thanks for this post! I have been sleeping horribly this week! I am determined to get a good night’s rest in prep for a long run scheduled for the morning. You betcha I’ll be downing some chia before bed!! :)

  9. says

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing those foods, I will definitely keep those in mind.
    My sleep really varies – I go through periods of sleeping great, and periods of waking up all the time and tossing and turning. I think it relates majorly to my anxiety/stress level. It’s something I’ve been trying to work on though, because I notice a huge difference in how I feel when I sleep well.

  10. says

    Ha! I JUST posted that I haven’t been sleeping well and really paid for it today. So glad to read your post! I’m going to be intentional about getting more chia seeds (which I already have on hand) and cherries (which I LOVE) into my diet.

  11. says

    Love this! I really would like more restful sleep. I had no idea cherries helped. I just bought a bag today, so that bodes well for my weekend sleeps! :) Have a great weekend yourself Brittany!

  12. says

    I usually work out in the evening, which I think is actually supposed to NOT help you sleep, but the routine of jogging and then taking a warm shower usually helps me fall asleep! I should also add that my job helps me fall asleep – I am BEAT after a day with 28 9-year-olds!

  13. says

    This is a great post! thanks for the tips! i am thankful that my son sleeps through the night but it doesnt mean that i do.

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