Getting a good night’s sleep is integral to your wellbeing and productivity. Fortunately, some foods and drinks contain components that help regulate the sleep cycle, meaning it may help you sleep. At Spirit & Destiny, we’ve done extensive research into the best foods for sleep and written a no-nonsense guide to this subject – so you can improve your wellbeing.
For a good night’s sleep, many nutritionists recommend eating a diet made up mostly of vegetables and fruits – which provides the essential vitamins and minerals that promote sleep.
First, here are some general tips to help improve your sleep:
• Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon or evening. Have some herbal tea, instead.
• Moderate alcohol consumption since it can deregulate your sleep cycles.
• Avoid eating late to prevent acid reflux – especially spicy and fatty foods.
What are the best nutrients to help sleep?
Many hormones, amino acids, chemicals, enzymes, and nutrients work collectively to regulate sleep. These include melatonin, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, antioxidants, copper, zinc, vitamin B and vitamin D.
While research provides substantial clues, unfortunately, it’s not conclusive. There’s a lack of direct evidence about specific foods that are good for sleep. But, it’s good practice to experiment with certain foods and find out what works for you. In fact, most foods don’t contain high levels of these nutrients… except for a few:
The best foods for sleep
Not only do almonds make a healthy evening snack – as they are high in good fats and low in sugar and saturated fats. They also contain a high concentration of melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleeping and waking cycle.
Almonds are the perfect bedtime snack. Full of many components - which are nutritious for your mind and body.
You can buy it in supplement form – or better, grab some almonds at a wholefoods shop.
Holland & Barrett Natural Almonds 100g
Meridian Organic Almond Butter 170g
Nutty Bruce Activated Unsweetened Almond M*lk 1L
Kiwi is said to be beneficial for sleep. In one small study, those who ate two kiwifruits one hour before bedtime experienced improved sleep. It may contain compounds such as melatonin, potassium, magnesium and calcium – which help us fall asleep faster and for longer.
Why not try and incorporate this unusual fruit into your diet more often?
Dorri - Dried Kiwi
Mockingbird Raw Kiwi Krush Smoothie750ml
The herb chamomile is a traditional remedy for insomnia. Scientists believe that a compound called apigenin is responsible for chamomile’s sleep-inducing properties.
However, research has found only small amounts of evidence that chamomile can improve sleep quality. At Spirit & Destiny, we believe that brewing a cup of chamomile tea can be a great ritual to add to your bedtime routine. Our wellbeing relies on reflecting, de-stressing, unwinding from the day and being thankful.
Chamomile tea is available everywhere. Here are our favourites:
Teapigs Chamomile Tea
Twinings Superblends Sleep
Heath & Heather Organic Camomile with Manuka Honey 20 Tea Bags
Walnuts contain a few compounds that promote and regulate sleep, including folate, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Though walnuts are said to be high in melatonin, researchers have not found a solid association between eating walnuts and better sleep. Some dieticians believe that walnuts are amongst the best foods for sleep.
Walnuts have such a beautiful and earthy feel to them. It's like you're dipping your hand into Mother Nature itself. Make sure to treat yourself to this marvellous food, which can prevent you from tossing and turning. You can get walnuts in several forms, including milk and essence - the latter of which you can drop into your drink.
Holland & Barrett Walnut Pieces 200g
Bach Original Flower Remedies Walnut 20ml
Valsoia Walnut Drink 1l
It’s common knowledge that eating fish is great for your health – especially your brain function. In fact, some research has concluded that fish may be the best catch for a good night’s sleep.
Why? Well, fish contains a healthy dose of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids – which help regulate the body’s production of serotonin. Serotonin is one of the hormones that helps us sleep.
We’ve got some helpful supplements if you don’t fancy cooking fish.
Seven Seas Omega-3 FISH Oil Plus Cod Liver Oil, 120 Capsules
Holland & Barrett Vegan Omega 3 from Algal Oil 30 Softgel Capsules
Popularly known as Horlick’s, malted milk is made by combining milk and a formulated malt powder mix. With this comes an assortment of vitamins – namely vitamins B and D – which can help reduce sleep interruptions.
If you haven’t got some Horlick’s knocking about in your cupboards, why not grab a pot? Just like a cup of herbal tea at the end of the day, adding a cup of Horlick’s into your bedtime ritual may help you feel better about the day that has just rushed by. At that moment, you will have a chance to reflect and enjoy a tasty drink all the while.
Horlicks Original 500g
Horlicks Vegan Malt 400g
Not only do they taste great, but cherries are high providers of four sleep-regulating compounds: melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, and serotonin. Additionally, food scientists have debated whether polyphenols (antioxidants to us) in tart cherries may also help with sleep.
Just like walnuts, tart cherries make a good snack before bed. We’ve got our top picks below:
Biona Organic Tart Cherry Pure Juice, 1L
Berrilys Organic Dried Tart Cherries, 450g
Montmorency Cherry Capsules 3000mg - 180
Other natural remedies
Aside from food, there are other traditional remedies that are thought to improve the quality and length of sleep.
However, it is best to speak with a medical professional before taking any new supplements. This is to ensure that they will not interact with other medications or supplements or affect any existing medical conditions.