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Are different foods best for sleep?

Nutrition Blog

June 25, 2022

What foods are best to help you sleep?

When you begin to make positive changes to your lifestyle, such as starting a new nutrition plan, it’s imperative to consider all parts of nutrition. One of those factors to consider is the amount and quality of sleep. Paleo Power Meals is here to share some foods that can assist you in getting the best quality sleep possible. chef seasoning salmon

Start with how your body works to regulate your sleep cycle. The body releases a hormone, melatonin, that is the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. The amount of melatonin will increase or decrease depending on your internal clock or time of day.

So, how can food impact the production of melatonin? Many foods have the components used by the body to synthesize melatonin. Studies suggest that eating certain foods may assist the body in producing melatonin or increase the amount available to the body.

Which foods are best for sleep?

The foods we have found are best for assisting in sleep are typically a natural source of melatonin or contain the components needed by the body to produce melatonin.


Almonds are great for boosting the quality of sleep. Like many nuts, almonds are a natural food that contains the hormone melatonin. However, not only do these sleep masters contain melatonin, but they also provide 19% of your body’s daily need for magnesium with just one ounce. Magnesium is known to help improve sleep quality, especially for those of our friends that suffer insomnia. By reducing the amount of inflammation and stress hormone levels, magnesium is a benefit to preventing interruptions in sleep.


Turkey has a reputation for putting us asleep at Thanksgiving. Well, turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the body’s production of melatonin. Science has suggested that eating moderate protein before bed is associated with sleep quality and more uninterrupted sleep through the night.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea has several health benefits such as immune system boost, lowering anxiety/depression, improving skin health, and reducing inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases. This powerhouse of a tea also contains apigenin, an antioxidant that connects to receptors in the brain that promote sleep and reduce insomnia.


This tiny fruit packs a punch! It comes with large amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K. It assists with digestive health, helps with inflammation, and even lowers cholesterol. Studies have shown how this beast of a fruit can help with sleep quality. The results suggest that kiwi helped people fall asleep and stay asleep.

Tart Cherry Juice

Another natural source of melatonin. Studies have suggested that consuming tart cherry juice can improve the length of sleep as well as quality. Although more research is needed, drinking tart cherry juice at bedtime is worth a shot if you struggle with sleep-related issues. 

Fatty Fish

Fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel are famous for their extraordinary levels of vitamin D. Scientists have done studies on the benefits of these fish and sleep. The results suggest that eating these fish three times a week helped people fall asleep more quickly. The suggestion is the high levels of vitamin D are what contribute to sleep.


And another one! This champ of a nut brings many nutrient health benefits from; fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, omega 3, and copper. But most importantly, these nuts are a natural source of melatonin. There are no studies specific to walnuts on sleep, but the chemicals in this delicious snack are the ingredients our bodies need to produce sleep hormones.

Passionflower Tea

 This herbal tea has been noted for its ability to reduce inflammation, increase immune health, reduce stress, and general calming properties. These calming properties have been credited for promoting sleepiness. Studies suggest that drinking passionflower tea increases the quality of sleep.

 Honorable Mentions

There are several other foods or drinks that also have properties that are beneficial to sleep-related struggles. Although these honorable mentions may be helpful, there is not enough data to support the claims made for these foods/drinks. Dairy products, like milk, have been shown to assist in sleep for adults. Bananas contain tryptophan and magnesium, which are properties that may help with sleep. Oatmeal, or oats, is a known source of melatonin and may be helpful to sleep.

Food and Sleep

Although foods and drinks chosen before bed can be beneficial to sleep, choosing the best nutritional foods throughout the day can have an even greater impact. Thus, balanced nutrition is essential to maintaining normal energy levels and mood, which will then promote more quality sleep habits. Paleo Power Meals provides meals with quality, nutritionally balanced meal options to ensure you are doing what is best for your sleep health.