The Best Foods For Better Sleep

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Discover the Best Foods to Get Better Sleep

Sleep is essential for our health and well-being, yet millions of people suffer from lack of sleep. Fortunately, one simple way you can try to improve your sleep is by eating certain types of foods.

Sleep Deprivation is Common Among Americans

Surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in 1999-2004 reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Most of the people with these problems go undiagnosed and untreated.


Sleep problems can directly or indirectly affect physiological systems, such as brain and nervous system, cardiovascular system, metabolic functions and immune system.

I’ve already written about the wide range of health issues that lack of sleep can cause to the body in my article about 23 dangers of sleep deprivation.

In this article I am going to cover foods that contain components that will help you to get better sleep, and I will share with you a recipe of banana and cinnamon drink you can consume about two hours before going to bed.

1. Foods Containing Tryptophan Can Help you Fall Asleep

Tryptophan in an amino acid which is required for the production of serotonin. Raising the level of tryptophan in the brain will increase production of serotonin which has general sedative effects.

Foods that contain tryptophan and increase serotonin levels are poultry, seafood, dairy products, nuts and seeds, eggs, bananas and legumes.

Milk for a better sleep

Milk contains tryptophan and you have probably heard many times that drinking a cup of warm milk at night will help you to get asleep.


However some research, including a 2003 study published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”, demonstrates that while milk does contain tryptophan, the tryptophan may be hindered from crossing into the brain by the protein in the milk. For tryptophan in the milk to be effective in causing sleep, it must be paired with foods that are low in protein and high in carbohydrates.

Another Point: For some people, particularly those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance, a glass of warm milk may cause digestive upsets.

I’d like to share with you a simple recipe that includes banana as its main ingredient. This is easy to make and digests very easy in the body.

Banana Cinnamon Drink for a better sleep

The minerals and amino acids in a banana help relax your body. Bananas contain the minerals potassium and magnesium which serve as  muscle relaxants, which in turn helps your body feel ready to fall asleep.

Bananas also contain tryptophan and is also a source of serotonin which has general sedative effects.


A small study published in the Journal of Pineal Research showed that blood levels of melatonin (which is the hormone that helps sleep) rose significantly about two hours after eating a banana.

1 medium banana, cut into pieces
1 cup of water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. honey (optional)


Blend the ingredients until thick and smooth. Serves 1

Note – you can replace the water with milk but then you must add the honey which is low in protein and high in carbohydrates. This will help the tryptophan in milk cross into the brain as per the study mentioned above.

2. Foods Containing Zinc and Magnesium

These minerals are important for healthy sleep.


A study published on January 2011 on the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society concluded that the administration of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc appears to improve the quality of sleep and the quality of life in long-term care facility residents with primary insomnia. You can use magnesium or zinc supplement for sleep support, or you can get it through nutrition.

Good sources of magnesium are: dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), fish, legumes, whole grains, avocado, bananas, plain yogurt, dried fruits and dark chocolate.

Consuming adequate amount of magnesium is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

Good sources of zinc are: seafood, beef and lamb, beans, nuts and seeds, wheat germ and dairy products. Combine these foods and eat them for dinner to get into sleepy mood.

3. Foods Containing Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone made by a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as banana, corn, rice, tomatoes, almonds, seeds and oats. You can also buy it as a supplement.

Tart cherries are one of the most concentrated sources of melatonin, so you can eat cherries in all forms: fresh, dried, frozen or as a juice.

Check my other related articles to help improving sleep disorders:
1. Simple Trick to Fall Asleep in One Minute
2. Improve Sleep Disorders With This Natural Substance
3. A Simple Recipe for a Great Sleep (2 Natural Ingredients)

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19 Responses to The Best Foods For Better Sleep

  1. sam says:

    raw chocolate also has tryptophan in it

  2. Bill says:

    #2….magnesium cannot be properly assimilated into the body without Selenium. js

  3. Daisy says:

    I will try this to get better sleep..Thanks

  4. Ben mcewan says:

    Raw chocolate though any chocolate has caffeine which will keep you awake avoid after 6pm
    People with candida/gluten intolerance will be incredibly sensitive to caffeine even the residues in decaf products
    Bananas have tryptophan and vitamin B6 you need the vitamin B6 as cofactor to tryptophan I researched it
    I recommended turkey for the tryptophan and banana but avoid heavy protein sources late at night
    Avoid looking at screens after 10pm most nights and keep your bedroom as dark as possible when sleeping, dark rooms increase melatonin production making you fall asleep faster. Do your best to avoid sleeping tablets in most cases. They aren’t generally very effective a little alcohol is probably better though it can wake you in the early hours through needing to get up to pee.

  5. Ruben Deyenberg says:

    Good information. Easy to read and understand.

  6. ofunne says:

    Good tips 4 healthy living indeed… Tanx

  7. Y.N. says:

    All I know is my mom just started taking a scoop of colostrum in her milk every night and she says she not only sleep through the night she doesn’t seem to even move all night… #totallytryingthis

  8. sarojini verma says:

    Please prescribe some medicine to get sleep n relax my mind

  9. Mamta says:

    Thank you for shearing the valuable health information

  10. LAWAL ADEKUNLE says:

    Nutmeg and milk is very good for people having insomnia small quantity of nutmeg powder mixed with a tea cup of hot milk before bed time .

  11. jewelfuji says:

    Thanks for helpful article share.your blog reminds me of an equally helpful and interesting blog on my reading list.

  12. Michell niles says:

    I have a hard time sleeping after about 5 hrs of sleep I am awake and can’t sleep back so thanks for the tip

  13. Gety says:

    My elder sister she doesn’t sleep at night, she will engage herself talking alone till morning .pls what can be d cause. are doing a great job,God Bless u.

    • Jenny Hills says:

      There can be many causes of insomnia (see for example in Mayo Clinic), so I can’t know what the reason is. Your sister needs to talk to her doctor who knows her medical history and can provide a proper diagnosis or advice based on her specific case.

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