Are you prone to post-lunch nap-attacks? You might blame eating too much, but it’s not just your full belly that can make you feel drowsy. The foods you eat can make you feel sleepy too.
The sleep community at People Who Sleep have compiled a comprehensive list of the different types of food that makes you sleepy,so keep these in mind for your bedtime snack.
A glass of warm milk or bowl of yogurt could be all you need to drift into dreamland.
Most dairy products contain the sleep-promoting amino acid, tryptophan, as well as carbohydrates, which make a winning sleep combo. Tryptophan helps your body produce serotonin and melatonin, which are both crucial for sleep.
The carbohydrates in most dairy products can help you relax before bed by helping more tryptophan reach your brain.
Like warm milk, popcorn is another go-to bedtime treat for those who want to fall asleep faster. Popcorn fills your belly, triggering stretch receptors that can make your body relax.
Popcorn will help you feel satiated before bed, so you won’t be kept awake by hunger. It’s also light on your stomach, so your sleep won’t be disrupted by prolonged digestion.
Eggs, chicken and red meat
Most animal foods are high in tryptophan. People like to blame the turkey for their post-Thanksgiving dinner fatigue, but the truth is that if you replaced your turkey with beef, chicken, pork, lamb or fish, you would still get tryptophan, which can make you drowsy.
This means that if your goal is to fall asleep faster, adding a source of tryptophan-rich protein will help.
Animal foods are not the only sources of tryptophan. Nuts not only contain tryptophan, but they also provide carbohydrates, helping you absorb the tryptophan.
Nuts are also a great source of the relaxing and sleep-promoting mineral you know as magnesium. Plus, if you have some walnuts and almonds with your dinner or as a snack afterwards, you’re getting a dose of melatonin from the nuts that will help you sleep.
Stock up on some salmon if you want to sleep better. Fatty fish will provide you with omega 3 and vitamin D, which are both important for serotonin regulation in the brain.
If you don’t know already, serotonin is a chemical messenger known as a neurotransmitter. Serotonin helps with mood regulation and relaxation and a deficiency can make you feel anxious and depressed, which can both affect your sleep quality negatively.
For quality sleep, do things to support your serotonin levels like eating more fatty fish.
You can also find vitamin B6 in most types of fatty fish. B6 helps you produce more of the sleep hormone: melatonin.
Pomegranate, bananas, cherries and strawberries
Get a little fruity before bed if your goal is to fall asleep faster. Fruits like bananas, cherries, strawberries and pomegranates are natural food sources of melatonin.
Fruit also provides fibre that will help keep you full and prevent any late-night hunger pains from keeping you awake. They are also a great source of healthy carbohydrates, which can help you relax when consumed in the evening.
White button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and shitake mushrooms are sources of vitamin D, potassium and magnesium, which all play a role in sleep quality.
Low vitamin D levels have been associated with less sleep, as well as lower quality sleep. Potassium helps your muscles relax, prevents muscle contractions and reduces your risk of sleep disturbances.
Yams are not only a delicious source of fibre and healthy carbohydrates, but it’s a good food to have when you want to fall asleep faster.
Yams get their sleep-promoting powers from magnesium, potassium and carbohydrate. Pair your yams wisely with tryptophan-rich foods like egg, nuts, poultry and red meat.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most popular sleep-promoting ingredients found in all sorts of tinctures, teas and foods. It comes from the cannabis plant, and now that it has been legalized in many countries around the world, more and more people are discovering just how effective CBD is for managing various sleep problems.
Remember that it’s the THC in the cannabis plant that makes people feel high but CBD-infused products won’t, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Nowadays, you can find CBD chocolates, cookies, candies, cereals, honey and even popcorn.
Pasta, sugar and other refined carbs
Pasta is the epitome of comfort food. Those with a sweet tooth might opt for cake, ice cream or cookies when they need something to help them relax. But these comfort foods can lead to you seeking the comfort of your bed.
Sugary foods and refined carbohydrates cause blood sugar spikes. But what goes up must come down and your blood sugar levels will drop again, which can make you feel tired.
If your blood sugar levels go too low, however, it can cause a cortisol spike that can wake you during the night, so it is best to avoid these foods before sleep.
If you want to use food to help you feel drowsy faster, try the ones we listed above and experiment with different ways of preparing and enjoying them before bed. A good night’s sleep could start with adding the right sleep-promoting foods to your shopping list.