When it comes to maintaining optimum physical and mental health, there is one thing that is at the top of the list and that is getting a good night’s sleep.

Depending on the kind of work that you do, you may want to have more or less sleep, with the average amount being 8 hours per night. However, many doctors will recommend getting between 7:00 to 9:00 hours if possible. This sounds simple, but many people suffer from intermittent insomnia or sleep issues, which make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep for very long.

There is of course the option to take medication to help you sleep, but much like everything else in life, your diet can play a role in you getting enough rest to function, so read on if you want to learn. About 18 foods that can help you get a good night’s sleep and don’t cost the earth. 


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Bananas are not just a source of potassium, but they are also a source of magnesium. If you are looking to get a good night’s sleep, you may want to up the amount of bananas that are in your diet, as both potassium and magnesium help the body to relax,  as both of these act as a natural muscle relaxant. Having tense muscles will prevent you from getting a good night’s rest, so eating a muscle relaxant that has no side effects is ideal! As well as this, there are minerals in bananas that help your body to convert tryptophan into serotonin, which is an important neurochemical when it comes to staying and falling asleep. 


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Far from being just a tasty snack, almonds have been found to boost the quality of sleep. Much like bananas, they contain higher levels of magnesium than most foods, which is a mineral required to help regulate sleep. Not only that, but studies that have been conducted by the Sleep Charity have found that almonds contain a natural source of melatonin, which is another protein which is important to help a person maintain their sleep wake cycle. So, if you are feeling peckish before bed, grab a handful of almonds and get a good night’s sleep

Pumpkin Seeds

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Another seed that is great for helping with sleep are pumpkin seeds. They have high levels of magnesium, zinc and tryptophane, which can help to improve sleep quality and length. As mentioned earlier, magnesium relaxes the muscles as well as the nerves and helps to create a sense of calmness, which is essential for catching those all-important z’s!


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If you are having issues with sleep, you need to consider increasing the amount of turkey in your diet beyond eating it for Thanksgiving! As is the pattern with most foods and drinks that can help you sleep, turkey has high levels of tryptophan, which will help you to feel sleepy and promote a good night’s sleep. Turkey has also been found in a study by The Health Reporter to help regulate blood sugar, which is also important for sleeping soundly. 

Chamomile Tea

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If you are feeling anxious or stressed before bedtime, it is time to invest in some chamomile tea. Chamomile contains an antioxidant known as apigenin and this. Antioxidant reduces anxiety and helps to promote sleep. Also, as this tea is free of caffeine, it is perfect for consuming in the evening after a stressful day at work.


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Kiwis may not be everybody’s cup of tea, so to speak, but this odd little fruit is a rich source of serotonin. As mentioned before, serotonin is a crucial neurochemical to ensure that you sleep better as well as longer, and higher levels of it have been linked to longer periods of essential REM sleep. So, if you want to up your intake of natural serotonin as well as vitamin C, it may be worth looking into the best way to eat this stubbly, brown little fruit! 


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Many people add walnuts to their diet in the form of snacks or consume them with fruit, cereal, or even the famous Waldorf salad. However, if you are suffering from insomnia, it’s worth noting that walnuts contain tryptophan.This is an amino acid which converts to serotonin and melatonin, both of which will help to regulate sleep.  This nut is hard though, so it may be worth breaking it a bit before you chew it!


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If you consume oatmeal in the morning, there is a likely reason as to why you may feel sleepy on your way to work! This food contains complex carbohydrates as well as melatonin, both of which increase the serotonin levels throughout the body. Ergo, you will feel sleepy once you have eaten it. So, if you are suffering from problems with your sleep cycle, it may be worth switching your morning oatmeal to evening oatmeal to see if that has an impact.  


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Valerian is a herb that has been used for centuries as a sleep aid.  The reason was looked into by a study that can be found on Medical News Today, which determined that valerian root is a source of GABA. GABA is a neurochemical which helps to regulate the level of serotonin and melatonin in the body, thereby upping the chances of both falling and staying asleep. 

However, valerian can interfere with prescription medications, so always talk to your doctor before you consume it.


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Provided that it is not loaded with sugar, chocolate or other stimulating elements, popcorn can be a great evening food if you are having issues with sleep. It is a complex carbohydrate, which helps the body to create more serotonin. You should note that while it is important to avoid popcorn that has sugar added to it, you should also take care to avoid buttered popcorn too.

Passionflower Tea

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This is another seemingly ancient remedy that has been linked to getting a better night sleep.When you drink passionflower tea, your body ups the level of GABA., helping to reduce anxiety, or the fight or flight response. So, you can reduce stress before bed, as well as lower your heart rate to get a good night’s sleep. 

Sweet Potatoes

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If you love sweet potatoes, then good news! These tasty carbohydrates are a healthy source of complex carbohydrates, which can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. As you know, serotonin is needed for a good night’s sleep, as well as helping with the creation of melatonin. So, if you’ve noticed that your sleep is becoming broken, it may be time to start eating some roast sweet potatoes for supper.

Cottage Cheese

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If you are having issues with sleep, then there is one nighttime snack that can help you; cottage cheese. 

For the sake of regulating blood sugar, try to avoid the cottage cheese that has pineapple added to it! Much like other cheeses and carbohydrates, cottage cheese is a great source of tryptophan, as well as casein. Both of these have been linked to helping muscles to relax, thereby helping someone to physically destress at the end of a hard day. 

Fatty Fish

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The link between eating salmon, mackerel and other fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and better sleep and mood have long been known. So, if you are experiencing issues with getting your regular 8 hours of sleep, it may be time to add some fish to your diet. Salmon in particular has been shown to boost serotonin production in adults and children, so is well worth trying out if you have had a few nights of bad sleep.

Barley Grass Powder

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If you are a fan of having smoothies in the evening, it is worth looking into adding some barley grass powder.

This powder is full of sleep-supporting vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.  As you are aware, if you have low magnesium levels, you are likely to have poorer sleep.

Greek Yogurt

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There was a fad in the 2010’s about Greek yogurt, and how it can help with multiple health issues. One of the most common areas that Greek yogurt was found to improve was sleep, as it helps the brain to create melatonin, due to the high levels of calcium. However, if this tasty evening snack sounds ideal for you, try to make sure you opt for the yogurt that has no added sugars, as this can add to issues with getting those all-important 8 hours of shut-eye!


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The standard head of lettuce has long been known to be a mild sedative, due in part to it containing lactucarium. This is a fluid that is secreted by all of the plants in the lettuce family and is also known to alleviate mild discomfort, as well as help with sleep. So, if you are having soreness or discomfort which is stopping you from sleeping, it may be time to grow some lettuce for your own medicinal use. 

If you have had poor sleep patterns for over 7 days, you should seek medical advice from a doctor, as this can point to an underlying health issue.

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