10 Foods that Promote Sleep

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As a mother, I am sure you will take all the sleep you can get. Let’s face it the luxury of a good night’s sleep ends once you start having kids. That doesn’t mean that the importance of sleep is something that goes away. It will just take a little more effort on our parts to achieve. So if there is a way to get that help with foods that promote sleep, I am all for it!

I mean, it is like killing two birds with one stone, am I right? Who doesn’t want to make sure they are eating a diet full of the proper nutrients and setting a great example for their children while promoting sleep at the same time?

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Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep not only gives you the strength to function at full capacity but it provides many other health benefits. Here is a list of the reasons you should put all the effort you can into making sure you get all the sleep you can, while still managing to be the super mom you are! A good night’s sleep can:

  • help reduce stress.
  • improve your memory.
  • lower your blood pressure.
  • help your body to fight back.
  • help you maintain your weight.
  • put you in a better mood.

When you are able to get a full night’s sleep you will see that you are able to function better and be in a better mood, which helps you to achieve everything you need as a parent. Thus making things less stressful on you and your family.

10 Foods That Promote Sleep

Many mothers struggle to get a good night’s sleep so we often have to look for other sources to get help. Eating a healthy diet is important not only for your overall well-being but your mental health as well. By adding some of the following foods you will not only be able to promote a better quality of sleep but you will improve your health as well.

foods that promote sleep


Eggs are a popular food of choice for breakfast but some may be unaware of their ability to promote sleep.

Egg whites are packed with 11 essential vitamins and minerals but they also help our body’s natural internal clock by producing melatonin that helps tell our brains it is time for bed. This will not only help to make you feel sleepy but make it easier for your brain to shut down and allow you to sleep longer.


Nuts are a great choice for snacking because they provide many health benefits but did you know that they can also help you sleep more soundly?

Nuts are a great source of heart-healthy fats such as omega 3s and 6 but they too like eggs contain the hormone melatonin. Eating them is a great way to help regulate your sleep cycle allowing you to sleep more soundly.


Honey is often used as a substitute for sugar in many beverages such as tea but I bet you were aware that just a teaspoon of this has the ability to help make you fall asleep faster?

Consuming a teaspoon of honey before bed is a great way to not only raise your body’s insulin levels which can increase the amino acid tryptophan and help you fall asleep faster, it can also replenish your liver’s glycogen levels, which is needed to prevent crisis.

According to studies, glycogen(Liver glycogen regulates blood sugar levels and homeostasis) is drained while we are awake and replenished while we sleep.


I am sure you have been exposed to the old wives’ tale that a glass of warm milk before bed can help you fall asleep but did you know that, milk may help you fall asleep but not for the reasons you were originally taught?

The ‘milk myth’ may have persisted because milk has small amounts of tryptophan, the raw material the brain uses to build both serotonin and melatonin, however, a study proved the amounts are too small to actually make you fall asleep. On the other hand, drinking warm milk may actually have a psychological effect on you that will help you fall asleep.

Bonus tip: Simply add a teaspoon of honey to milk once it is cooled to a safe temperature for consumption and enjoy it for the added benefit.

Herb Tea

Herbal teas have been popular for years as a way to help soothe and relax the body before bed. But do you know the effects they have on your brain?

There are many antioxidants ( in herbal teas that have a calming effect and can reduce stress and promote sleep. Teas such as chamomile, valerian root, lemon balm, and more have been used to not only help you sleep but fight disease and infections, protect against oxidative stress, and lower the risk of chronic disease.

Here are a few different herbal teas and how they promote sleepiness:

Chamomile contains the antioxidant apigenin in high levels which decreases anxiety and induces sleepiness.

Valerian root contains a neurotransmitter called  gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA) in high levels which increases sleepiness which functions the same way as anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax without the morning defects like drowsiness.

Lemon balm, as shown through studies, increases GABA levels and increases sedation. This aromatic tea has been used to reduce stress and promote sleep since the middle ages.

Whole Grains

Eating whole grains provide many health benefits from reducing your risks of heart disease to even relieving stress. However, were you aware of the effect they could have on the quality of your sleep?

Whole grains are a complex carbohydrate that can raise your serotonin levels, lowers your stress levels, and promote sleep. They contain high levels of tryptophan and help deliver it to the brain according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).


One of my favorite fruits is bananas because of their versatility. If you take meds like me they are great for coating your tummy. But did you know that eating bananas before bed could help you get a good night’s sleep?

Bananas are one of my favorite fruits because they are a great source of magnesium and potassium. Just like whole grains they contain tryptophan which helps produce serotonin.

Adding this fruit to your snacks is a great way to not only help you fall asleep faster but regulate sleep cycles.


Yogurt is a great healthy substitute for ice cream but that isn’t the only reason you should enjoy this snack.

Reader’s Digest suggests breaking out the cheese and crackers before bed, or even a cup of yogurt. Calcium found in dairy products will help the brain use the tryptophan to help make sleep-inducing melatonin.


Many of us can relate to eating Turkey and afterward feeling sleepy. Have you ever understood the science behind why you felt that way?

This meat contains the amino acid tryptophan and in large quantities. It also helps your body to make melatonin which is why you feel so sleepy after eating it.


Eating fish is an important part of a well-balanced diet and for good reason. However, did you know that another good reason for ingesting fish could be to promote a healthy sleep?

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna is a good source of the heart-healthy fatty acids and vitamin D. Both of these nutrients help your body to regulate serotonin allowing your body to regulates it’s sleep and waking cycles.

Go here for more tips on how to get a good nights sleep.

Click the Image Below to Download the 10 Foods That Promote Sleep Infographic(PDF)

foods that promote sleep

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Foods that promote sleep

As a mother, it is important to ensure you get the best quality of sleep. This is important not only for yourself but for your family.

Remember, a fully rested mother is able to function the way she needs in order to better take care of her home. Thus she is able to get everything she needs to be done around her home and is in better health.

Foods contain many different nutrients, hormones, chemicals, and compounds to help promote sleep. To get the greatest benefits from these foods eat them no later than a few hours before bedtime.

I would love to hear from you. Is there a food or drink you like to consume that helps you sleep better at night?


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8 thoughts on “10 Foods that Promote Sleep”

  1. Great article, thanks! I eat/drink almost your whole list on a regular basis. Just no dairy. As you stated it’s very important to eat varied food. Even when you’re no longer a young mother, like me. 🙂

    1. Oh, that is wonderful to hear. I drink milk but lactose-free, so I understand, we also have to cater to our health and diets as well. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hi Melissa,

    I think it’s interesting to note that the vast majority of the foods mentioned in this list are also touted as healthy foods, even superfoods, in some cases.

    I think it’s becoming more obvious that how we fuel our bodies has a huge impact on both our mental and physical wellbeing, and of course how we sleep.

    I know from my own research that good quality sleep is essential when it comes to both the brain and body repairing and rejuvenating themselves, and I guess this is even more important as a parent to young children (or kids of any age to be fair).

    Are there any specific foods or teas that you take yourself pre-bedtime that have helped improve the quality of your own sleep?

    Anyway, thanks for a fascinating and informative article.

    Keep up the great work.

    1. Very true! It is very evident that what we put in our system directly affects our mental and physical health so it is important to make sure we make the best food choices especially since parents set up the path for their children’s nutrition choices later in life.

      I have noticed that chamomile has the best calming effect for me both mentally and physically since I have digestive issues that arise at night and I like to make sure I have something to keep any indigestion down before bed.

      That is a great question, thanks for asking and thanks for your wonderful comment!

  3. Well, it’s official, I am having my regular breakfast for dinner! This is eye-opening. This is a great way to naturally help my kids sleep too. We all have varying degrees of insomnia. Thank you!

    1. I actually love to have breakfast for dinner sometimes, hehe. Depending on what you make, it can be full of great proteins and imagine the foods on this list you could use, so I am there with you! Sorry to hear that but I think a lot more of us are having sleep issues because we have been at home more often. I wish you and your family all the best!

  4. Thanks for this informative post, I actually learned something new!
    Had no idea that bananas can help me to sleep better, I always eat them during my lunch time so I guess I have to start eating them in the evenings now. Same with eggs, I mean we all eat them for breakfast which is a bit ironic!
    Keep up the good work and take care:)

    1. You are welcome! I too was eating bananas earlier on because I take medications that hurt my tummy and they were a great way to coat my tummy but I changed them to the evening after learning. They also make you feel nice and full for a long time which is good so you don’t go to sleep hungry. Yeah, the eggs one is crazy but neat! Thanks and thank you for the comment!

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