4 Healthy Foods that Help You Sleep

Interested in learning about nutritious foods that help you sleep? Choices such as milk and fatty fish contain nutrients that may improve sleep quality.


There are foods that help you sleep, and they can assist you in getting the rest you need to be alert and productive. The list includes foods such as milk and salmon.

Adequate sleep is essential if you want to optimize your productivity and maintain good health. 

The body uses the sleep cycle as a time to rest and recharge. A lack of sleep can make it difficult for you to shine in the areas of your life that you value most. Additionally, over the long haul, not getting enough sleep could lead to serious health problems. 

In this article, we’ll offer guidance on how much sleep you should get, and we’ll discuss some of the problems that could develop if you don’t get enough rest. We’ll also recommend a few foods that help you sleep through the night. 

The value of sleep

Your body needs at least a certain amount of sleep each night for restoration and rejuvenation. 

How much sleep is enough?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who are 18 and older need at least seven hours of sleep each night. 

Teens who are between 13 and 18 need eight to 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours, and it’s recommended that kids between 6 and 12 get nine to 12 hours. Younger kids need even more sleep; it’s recommended that they get between 10 to 12 hours of rest every 24 hours, including naps.

The number of hours slept each night is just part of the story. The quality of sleep you’ve received also plays a part in the equation. 

If your sleep quality is poor, you may find yourself waking repeatedly through the night. And come morning, you’ll wake feeling tired, even though you’ve slept for an adequate number of hours. 

A CDC study shows that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. 

A lack of sleep can profoundly affect a person’s health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours a day may increase the likelihood of developing conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. It can also create mental distress that can make it difficult for you to perform well on the job.  

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, the sleep-promoting foods listed below may help. 

Sleep aid #1: Milk

glass of milk and cookies

A glass of warm milk is one of the most popular home remedies for insomnia. 

Milk contains compounds that support restful sleep. It’s rich in tryptophan, an amino acid. Tryptophan helps your body produce melatonin, a hormone that can help improve sleep duration and sleep quality. 

A British study looked at the effect that consuming a hot drink of milk and Horlicks had on sleep quality. The study showed that those who drank this beverage made fewer small movements during sleep than those who drank a glass of hot water. This suggests that the milk beverage led to more restful sleep patterns. 

In a 2014 study, milk – as well as other dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese – helped participants get better sleep, when combined with leisure-time physical activity. Participants who consumed dairy products such as milk had an easier time falling asleep than those who didn’t. 

Drink a glass of warm milk before bed to give your body the melatonin it needs to foster satisfying sleep. Choose organic milk for maximum health benefits.

Sleep aid #2: Tart cherry juice

close up of cherries

Tart cherry juice is an abundant source of melatonin, the hormone that helps you get restful sleep. 

A 2018 study looked at the effect that drinking tart cherry juice has on participants with insomnia. Drinking 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped participants sleep an additional 84 minutes each night.

Consume a glass of this sleep-promoting beverage an hour before bedtime if you’re struggling with insomnia.


Sleep aid #3: Chamomile tea

steaming cup of tea

Apigenin is an antioxidant that attaches itself to certain brain receptors. In so doing, it can induce sleepiness and minimize insomnia.

Chamomile tea is a good source of apigenin. This nutrient enables chamomile tea to provide meaningful benefits regarding sleep quality. 

In one study, 10 cardiac patients easily fell into a deep sleep after consuming chamomile tea. And chamomile has been shown to help sleep-disturbed rats fall asleep more quickly.

Add chamomile tea to your diet if you want to improve the quality of your sleep. 

Sleep aid #4: Fatty fish

fatty fish for sleep aid

Certain high-fat, rich foods can have a positive effect on sleep patterns. 

This is certainly the case with fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

Both these nutrients have been shown to boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps you get better sleep. 

One study put some participants on a diet that included 300 grams of Atlantic salmon three times a week for six months. Those placed on this diet fell asleep about 10 minutes faster than participants who substituted salmon with chicken, beef and pork.

As an added benefit, the protein and omega-3s in fatty fish may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This food is also rich in vitamin B6, a nutrient that may improve mood and reduce the symptoms of depression. 

Include fatty fish in your eating plan if you have difficulty falling asleep. 

Next steps 

If you’ve tried the foods discussed above and still have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, you may have a sleep disorder. Conditions such as sleep apnea and snoring can diminish the quality of your sleep. A doctor may be able to provide treatment that brings relief. 

Choose Fresh N Lean to have nourishing, sleep-inducing foods such as salmon delivered to your door. Our meal plans include tasty dishes such as Maple-Glazed Salmon with Brown Rice.  

Fresh N Lean is the nation’s largest organic meal delivery service. Our tasty, chef-prepared cuisine is always fresh and never frozen, and we offer convenient meal plans like Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Standard Vegan and Mediterranean. Choose Fresh N Lean for affordable nutrition, delivered to your doorstep.