Quality sleep is essential for all aspects of health, including your immune system and physical activity.
Some folks might be surprised to learn that poor quality sleep—not sleeping long or deeply enough—can make you feel hungry, and even cause you to crave certain foods (such as chips or sweets). On the flip side, a healthy pattern of eating is important for promoting sufficient sleep, and specific food choices may either help or hinder your ability to sleep soundly.
Simply put, sleep and nutrition are interconnected.
The hormone melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan are two compounds that promote quality sleep. Consider including food sources of melatonin—such as pistachios, cherries, and salmon—and tryptophan—such as tuna, mushrooms, and peanuts—to help support a good night’s sleep. Wash it all down with a cup of herbal tea, which can help you feel a sense of calm and promote restful sleep.
Foods that are spicy, high in added sugars, and/or high in caffeine may disrupt sleep when consumed too close to bedtime. You might also find that you experience sleep difficulties when you go to bed shortly after eating or drinking. It’s generally a good idea to allow 2 hours before bedtime after your last meal or snack so your body can transition to a calm and restful state.
While there are many things you can do to promote restorative sleep, one of the simplest actions you can take is to have a consistent sleep routine. This means going to bed and waking up at the same general times, and eating dinner around the same time each evening. Bonus if your routine limits screentime before bed!
Start simple and enjoy a variety of nutritious foods to ensure you have enough of the nutrients needed to support all body processes, including sleep.
Check out some of our top picks below to help you get those Z’s!