Best Foods to Eat Before Bed for Better Sleep
Sleep and food are two essential requirements for human survival. They are also interconnected: eating well is essential for healthy, restful sleep and vice versa.
The foods and beverages we consume, especially near bedtime, significantly impact our sleep quality. There are some foods, such as caffeine, that most of us know to avoid near bedtime.
But did you know that there are some sleep-inducing foods that can actually help us get to sleep faster and get a better night’s sleep?
Aside from providing the nutrients, vitamins, and proteins necessary to restore and repair our bodies, certain foods contain sleep-inducing hormones such as melatonin and serotonin.
We’ve reviewed some of the best foods to eat for better sleep quality.
Is it wrong to eat before bed?
Many experts recommend finishing meals 2-3 hours before going to sleep. That said, a growling stomach can prevent you from getting good sleep quality. If you’re feeling hungry around bedtime, it’s best to listen to your body and respond accordingly.
A variety of bedtime snacks may benefit your sleep quality, such as almonds, kiwi, bananas, and cottage cheese.
Is it wrong to have a late-night snack?
If you wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry and have difficulty going back to sleep, the best thing you can do is satisfy your hunger.
But not all snacks are created equally. If you wake up in the middle of the night with a rumbling stomach, reach for something with healthy or sleep-inducing benefits.
Is it wrong to eat in bed?
Most of us are guilty of eating in bed from time to time—hello, breakfast in bed! While dining or snacking in bed may feel like a luxury, avoid making it a habit. Your bed should be reserved for sleeping or relaxing activities.
Best foods for a restful sleep
We’ve all been there: the dish we ordered at that trendy new restaurant was delicious but too light. Two hours after dinner, we’re already hungry, but now it’s almost bedtime.
Anyone who has tried to fall asleep hungry knows it’s daunting. If you’re hungry before heading to bed, it’s best to satisfy your hunger. But not all foods are created equally. Certain foods promote better sleep quality, while others are detrimental to sleep quality.
Let’s take a look at the ideal foods to eat before bed.
Fatty fish is high in vitamin D and omega acids. This makes fatty fish an excellent option for overall health and one of the best foods for better sleep. The high levels of vitamin D are thought to help us fall asleep faster.
Sweet potatoes are high in B6, a mood-boosting vitamin that also leads to increased melatonin. Sweet potatoes are also hearty and comforting, perfect for cooler nights during fall and winter. Just make sure to enjoy your sweet potato baked or boiled—it’s best to avoid fried foods before bed.
We all know that sleepy feeling that takes over on Thanksgiving after dinner is finished. The amino acid tryptophan, found in turkey, contributes to this feeling. Turkey is also high in protein, which is excellent for muscle recovery and repair.
Chicken noodle soup
There’s a reason chicken noodle soup is a favorite for those feeling under the weather–– it’s comforting, easy to digest, and full of healthy nutrients. Chicken noodle soup is ideal for winding down and feeling relaxed before bed, plus the broth is hydrating.
Spinach has a vast list of beneficial nutrients and compounds. Spinach contains our favorite sleep-inducing amino acid, tryptophan, magnesium (for muscle relaxation), vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and glutamine (another amino acid connected with sleepiness).
Cooking spinach breaks down many of these essential benefits, so eat spinach raw before bed to boost your sleep quality.
Almonds contain magnesium, which can reduce muscle tension and increase relaxation. They also have the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle and is often used to treat insomnia.
Kiwifruit is a versatile fruit. Aside from being an excellent source of vitamin C, kiwi contains vitamin K, folate, potassium, carotenoid antioxidants, and—a vital sleep hormone—serotonin. Eating 1-2 kiwifruits before bed is reported to help you fall asleep faster.
Cottage cheese contains the amino acid tryptophan, our favorite sleep hormone. Cottage cheese is also one of the more versatile bedtime snacks; it can be paired with crackers for a salty taste or with honey to satisfy a sweet craving.
Due to their high concentration of magnesium and potassium, bananas are excellent for muscle relaxation. Did you know they also contain both sleep-inducing melatonin and serotonin? They do, making them an ideal bedtime snack.
Due to its carb content and lack of fiber rice has a high glycemic index. A high glycemic index is linked to falling asleep faster. White rice is also high in magnesium and several other important vitamins and minerals.
Some beverages, such as milk, may also satisfy our hunger. Other drinks, such as tea, can help us relax and feel more sleepy. Let’s take a look at the best beverages to try before bed.
Warm milk before bed is a classic. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan and the hormone melatonin, making it the ultimate pre-bedtime or late-night snack. Warm milk is also comforting and soothing, which helps set the tone for a good night’s sleep.
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is an excellent snack option for those experiencing insomnia. Those who are having trouble sleeping and prefer not to reach for over-the-counter sleep aids should try tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, an essential sleep hormone and a common ingredient in over-the-counter sleep medicine.
Camomile tea is a versatile beverage for relaxation, de-stressing, or soothing an upset stomach. If you’re feeling anxious around bedtime, chamomile is an excellent option for calming down and getting into the sleep mindset.
Those with insomnia or anxiety-related sleeplessness may find that incorporating chamomile tea into their bedtime routine may increase sleep health and consistency.
Passionflower tea contains chrysin, which is a flavone with anti-anxiety properties. Honey also has the same flavone, so if you’re a tea drinker, try adding a teaspoon of honey to your passionflower tea for an even better night’s sleep.
Valerian root extract has long since been tooted as a natural treatment for insomnia. The herb is known for having sedative and anti-anxiety effects, which makes for a perfect pre-bed beverage.
Worst foods for a good night's sleep
While some food and drinks can help us get better sleep, some negatively impact our sleep health. These foods and drinks should be avoided around bedtime or as late-night snacks. Let's take a look at some of the worst foods to eat before bed.
Fried foods (fried food)
Fried foods are usually high in fat, take a long time to digest, and can even cause acid reflux and heartburn. This could lead to poor sleep quality, causing you to wake up feeling tired and unwell.
Like fried foods, high-fat foods should be avoided near bedtime as they take a long time to digest and can cause acid reflux, making it more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Spicy foods can cause uncomfortable indigestion or heartburn, making them a poor choice for a pre-bed meal. That doesn’t mean you can’t have spicy food for dinner—just make sure you finish dinner 2-3 hours before bed.
Dark chocolate may be a staple dessert for some, but it could also be the culprit interfering with your sleep. Dark chocolate contains caffeine, so those sensitive to it may find it difficult to fall asleep after eating a serving of dark chocolate.
While a glass of wine can help you unwind and make you sleepy, heavy drinking can affect your ability to get sufficient REM sleep. Avoid copious alcoholic beverages before bed to get the best possible rest.
Caffeine is a stimulant and, therefore, inherently keeps us awake. Any beverage or food item containing caffeine should be avoided entirely near bedtime. In fact, if you suffer from insomnia or trouble sleeping, it’s best to avoid caffeinated things past 2 PM.
Eating and sleep
Aside from knowing which foods to reach for and which to avoid, there are a few other factors to consider when it comes to eating around bedtime.
Trying to fall asleep hungry is not a good idea; however, neither is trying to fall asleep stuffed. Overeating can negatively impact our overall health. An uncomfortable, overfull stomach can lead to heartburn and make it difficult for us to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
Avoid eating in bed
The bed should be reserved for sleeping and relaxing—this promotes healthy sleep hygiene. If you do like to eat in bed (occasionally or as a habit), be sure you’re using a mattress protector and easy-to-care-for sheets to deal with the inevitable crumbs and spills. Wash your sheets often.
Use a body pillow to prop yourself up for better control and less potential spillage.
Stick to a schedule
Since our sleep cycles are regulated by our circadian rhythm, sticking to a schedule is an essential part of maintaining good sleep hygiene. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is a great way to reinforce our natural cycles.
Eating meals at the same time every day helps keep all of our cycles in sync, including our sleep cycles. Try having meals around the same time each day, especially dinner.
Maintain a healthy diet
Getting proper sleep is not just about what you eat around bedtime. Maintaining a balanced diet is essential for overall health and can promote better sleep.
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Not only is regular exercise important for overall health, but it’s also helpful for getting a good night’s sleep.
It’s best not to do vigorous exercise within two hours of bedtime, so plan exercise routines accordingly. If you exercise at night, be sure to factor in sleep-friendly foods into post-workout meal plans.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment
A comfortable sleeping environment is the key to restful sleep. Temperature, noise, light, and any other disturbances may impact your ability to fall asleep or sleep through the night.
To create the ideal sleeping environment, be sure to invest in the right bedding. Starting with sheets, consider what kind of sleeper you are. Do you tend to run hot during the night? Do you find yourself shivering as you get into bed?
Make sure your pillows are the correct loft, size, and softness for your sleeping position. If you are pregnant, suffering from an injury, or generally like having something to squeeze at night, consider adding a body pillow to your bedding collection.
Aside from regulating the temperature of your body under the sheets, be sure to keep the temperature of your bedroom at a comfortable level.
Cut back on noise disturbances by using earplugs or investing in a white noise machine, which can create a calming effect and block out background noise.
Cover natural light sources with blackout curtains to ensure a dark environment for sleeping, which is supported by our body’s natural circadian rhythm.
Our recommendations for the best sleep quality
Aside from having the right snacks and beverages before bed, excellent sleep quality is more likely to be achieved when you have great sheets.
Mellanni’s got you covered with some of the best sheets on the market.
Just as organic foods are great for the body, organic fabrics are great for the skin.
GOTS Certified Organic Cotton
This sheet set is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard to be made with 100% organic cotton. You can rest easy knowing this sheet set is free of harmful toxins and synthetic chemicals.
Luxurious yet affordable, this double-brushed microfiber sheet set is sure to make you wake up feeling as refreshed as if you were on vacation.
Easy to care for
Stain, wrinkle, fade, and shrink-resistant, these sheets are perfect for any bedroom in the house. They are machine washable and, when cared for properly, can last many washes.
Perfect for hot sleepers, our flax linen bed sheet set wicks moisture, helping to regulate your body temperature throughout the night.
Durable and soft
These sheets are made to last a lifetime. We use the highest quality linen and craftsmanship to ensure these sheets are soft yet durable. We aim for heirloom quality.
This 100% flannel cotton sheet set is perfect for chillier nights.
Warm but breathable
A flannel sheet set is essential for winter months. Our lightweight flannel sheet set comes in a variety of colors and patterns, are velvety soft, and breathable—perfect for keeping warm without feeling suffocated.
Like a hearty chicken noodle soup, our heavyweight flannel sheet set feels like a warm hug as you sleep, keeping you extra cozy and comfortable even on the coldest of nights.
GOTS Certified Organic Cotton
Not only will you have peace of mind knowing you’ll stay warm through the night, but you’ll rest easy knowing you’re wrapped in non-toxic, chemical-free cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard.
A body pillow is a perfect accessory for lounging in bed or sleeping in comfort.
Softest, hypoallergenic filling
Filled with 100% virgin polyester fiber filling, our premium body pillow is as soft and luxurious as down but with the benefit of being hypoallergic and easy to care for.
Protect your mattress and improve your sleep quality with a microplush mattress pad—it’s like sleeping on a cloud.
Made with quilted squares that mimic tiny pillows, our expertly-crafted mattress pad is overfilled, ultra-soft, and hypoallergenic, providing the ultimate comfort.
Protect your sleep environment with stylish blackout curtains.
Blocks light, UV rays, and noise
Our triple-weave blackout curtains block 99% of light and UV rays. They also block unwanted outside noise from entering your bedroom and help regulate temperature by keeping the warm in and the cold out (or vice versa).
When it comes to sleeping well, eating well is a major key. What we eat affects our sleep, especially when consuming food and beverages near bedtime.
Once you’ve had a satisfying, sleep-promoting snack, meal, or drink, make sure you climb into some of the best sheets on the market.
Mellanni’s got you covered with some of our top sheet sets.
Check out our Organic Cotton Bed Sheet Set for a luxurious and environmentally friendly sheet set. Perfect for hot sleepers and cold sleepers alike. Plus, easy to care for!
For a crisp hotel feel, we recommend our 1800 Bed Sheet Set. These sheets are also stain-resistant, so you can have peace of mind when it comes to spills.
Our 100% Flax Linen Bed Sheet Set is lightweight, breathable, and top-notch. This sheet set is an excellent choice for hot sleepers.
If you’re a hot sleeper looking for a cozy, winter-friendly sheet set, try our Cotton Flannel Sheet Set, Lightweight.
For those that run more on the chilly side, we recommend our Cotton Flannel Sheet Set, Heavyweight.
Perfect for lounging or for sleeping with extra support, our Premium Body Pillow is the best choice for a comfortable bed.
Make sure your bedroom decor matches your attitude. Mellanni’s various duvet covers can fit any room and any mood.
Sleep on a cloud and protect your mattress with Mellanni’s Microplush Mattress Pad.
Blackout Curtains are a must-have when it comes to promoting healthy sleep. Keep your sleeping environment dark and quiet.
Happy eating and sleeping!