The best foods for sleep and wellness

If you’re having trouble sleeping, here’s food for thought…

Best food for getting sleep. Foods rich of tryptophene and melatonin. Healthy nutrition concept

by Piper Huxley |
Updated on

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. Getting a good night’s sleep is integral to your wellbeing and productivity. Much like essential oils for sleep, some foods and drinks contain components that help regulate the sleep cycle, meaning they may help you sleep.

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 for sleep, instead. Moderate alcohol consumption since it can deregulate your sleep cycles. Avoid eating late to prevent acid reflux – especially spicy and fatty foods.

Best foods for sleep at a glance

Best almond food for sleep: Whole Natural Almonds 400g - view at Holland and Barrett
Best chamomile tea for sleep: Teapigs Chamomile Flowers Tea 15 Temples - view at Holland and Barrett
Best tart cherry drink for sleep: Biona Organic Tart Cherry Juice 1L - view on Amazon UK

So, what are the best nutrients to help sleep? Many hormones, amino acids, chemicals, enzymes, and nutrients work collectively to regulate sleep - and are present in herbal sleep aids. 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. Most foods don’t contain high levels of these nutrients… except for a few. We've found the best foods for sleep - perfect for those of us who need a little extra support.

The best foods for sleep

Almonds

Not only do almonds make a healthy evening snack – but they are high in good fats and low in sugar and saturated fats. They also contain a high concentration of melatonin, 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 whole food shop.

Best almond food for sleep

Holland & Barrett's Whole Natural Almonds provide an excellent source of protein and fibre. Seasonally harvested, these nuts are simply perfect for snacking and baking - with the ability to help you snooze.

Customer review: "Good quality and use them to make almond milk. Have a years shelf life so can take my time with them.”

Best nut butter for sleep

Or, consider the Meridian Organic Almond Butter, made with 100% almonds. Certified palm oil-free and vegan, this recipe is high in fibre and is a good protein source. Try a spoonful on some fruit.

Customer review: “Lovely flavour, quality product and seems to be the only organic almond butter available.”

Best almond drink for sleep

100% plant-based, this Alpro Almond Plant-Based Long Life Drink (8 x 1L) is a must-have for settling down. Low in fat, and sugars, this almond drink has been packed with fortified plant-based calcium. Perfect for cups of coffee, bowls of cereal or the base for a hot choccy, this is a great choice for sleep.

Customer review: "Love this milk! Tastes great with cereals and coffees. Do feel it is a lot less heaving and taxing on the stomach than regular milk. Happy to have made the switch to plant based milk!"

Kiwi

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?

Best kiwi food for sleep

Enjoy this Dorri Dried Kiwi 150g - a great option for those of us needing a little sleep support. Snacking on a few of these sweet treats before bed may provide you a much-needed push to slumber...

Customer review: "First time buying Dorri's Dried Kiwi Fruit.. it is soft, chewy and Tasstes slightly sharp and sweet. Bought for my daughter who loves kiwi and she loves them. Dorri do a great and tasty selection of products, I am particularly keen on their cashew nuts! Everything I have tried has been fresh , packaged well and devilishly moreish!"

Best fruit jam for sleep

Consider this Kiwi Jam for a late-night nibble of toast. A fabulous (and rather unusual) flavour, Kiwi Jam will pair perfectly with your bedtime rituals. And, grab an extra jar for a friend who has trouble sleeping...

Customer review: "Really very nice indeed. Thank you for creating this flavour."

Best fruit drink for sleep

The Innocent Super Smoothie Kiwi & Cucumber with Vitamins is a blend of crushed fruit and vegetables, pure juices, milled seeds, botanicals and vitamins, making it the perfect night-time drinkie.

Customer review: "I really love this and adore the cucumber taste, which makes it so fresh. Because it is less obviously fruity than other smoothies, it goes better with a meal (instead of wine - for those trying to cut down like me)."

Chamomile tea

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 little 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:

Best chamomile tea for sleep

Caffeine-free, Teapigs Chamomile Flowers Tea comes with 15 temples to give you a sweet, surprisingly juicy flavour of chamomile. Incorporate this into your bedtime ritual and you'll be out like a light.

Customer review: “I have been using this tea as an excellent option to improve my breastfeeding. The Pediatrics recommends.”

Best chamomile tea for sleep with passionflower

With spiced apple and notes of vanilla, this expertly crafted Twinings Superblends Sleep comes in 20 tea bags to warm up your bedtime cuppa. It combines chamomile and passionflowers for a good rest.

Customer review: “Love these tea bags, i really do feel sleepy when I have one, if you struggle with sleep, I would highly recommend this product."

Best chamomile tea for sleep with honey

A deliciously tasty way to support your wellbeing, this Heath & Heather Organic Camomile with Manuka Honey comes with 20 tea bags to bring a soothing and sweet bedtime drink to help you get some kip.

Customer review: “This tea is my favourite ever! I've drunk camomile for years but tried this one with manuka honey and it's absolutely delicious. I don't sweeten my drinks so I was worried it may be too sweet for me but it doesn't taste sweetened as such. Just a gorgeous, mellow, subtle hint. I'm a convert from regular camomile now! Heath and Heather teas are simply the best.”

Walnuts

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.

Best walnut food for sleep

Holland & Barrett's Walnuts Halves are packed full of minerals and vitamins; they are high in antioxidant Vitamin E - and other compounds that can promote and regulate sleep. Perfect for snacking...

Customer review: “Order arrived quickly and well packaged. I had quite a few walnut & coffee cakes to bake and these are perfect, fresh and tasty (I did eat quite a few) would buy again”

Best tincture for sleep

Bach Original Flower Remedies, Walnut
Price: $26.99

From the makers of the UK's wellbeign brand, Rescue Remedy, this Bach Original Flower Remedies, Walnut dropper is perfect to incorporate into your bedtime ritual - for destressing.

Customer review: "I have used this Bach'flower remedy for some time and find it does help to get to,sleep I'd feel youmuse a few drops under your tongue before bedtime."

Best walnut drink for sleep

Low in fat and fortified with calcium and vitamins, this vegan-friendly Valsoia Walnut Drink is another option for your bedtime tea. Simply shake and drink for some nutty goodness...

Customer review: "Love love love walnut milk! If it was more widely available it'd take first place in my top milk alternatives. It's got just the right amount of sweetness and it's so good with coffee based drinks. I mean ofcourse it is, it's walnut and coffee! I don't get these very often due to the price and how hard it is to find them but when I do I know it's a treat. I use it in porridge, coffee and shakes. I don't tend to have milk alts by themselves but I do sip them to try and it's so good."

Omega 3

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.

Best Omega-3 supplement for sleep

Seven Seas Omega-3 FISH Oil Plus Cod Liver Oil, 120 Capsules
Price: $19.13

This Seven Seas Omega-3 Cod Liver Oil, 120 contains natural source omega-3 fish oil with cod liver oil that helps support overall health. Rich in fatty acids and Vit D, this is another great sleepy supplement.

Customer review: "Delivery was earlier than expected which was great, good quality product from a well-known brand."

Best vegan Omega 3 supplement for sleep

Together Health Omega-3 Algae Vegan Source, 30 Softgels
Price: £11.19 (was £13.99)

www.bodykind.com

Dairy free and plastic-free, the Together Health Omega-3 Algae Vegan Source, 30 Softgels is free from nasties and doesn't have that fishy aftertaste. It's an sustainable option for your bedtime routine.

Customer review: "Arrived super quick. Very competitive prices. Well packaged. Love these soft gels easy to use and definitely feeling the benefits. Not as stiff and achy. Repeat purchase is a must."

Best Omega 3 food for sleep

Holland & Barrett's Omega Mix contains Pumpkin, Sunflower, Linseeds and Sesame seeds - containing essential fatty acid Omega 3. This mix is great for snacking on or baking with - make granola bars.

Customer review: “I use the Omega Seeds in my sourdough bread making and it really improves the loaf.”

Malted Milk

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.

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.

If you haven’t got some Horlick’s knocking about in your cupboards, why not grab a pot?

Best malted milk for sleep

Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle with the Horlicks Original Malted Drink 400g. Take a moment from your day and sip away at this bedtime drink - high in calcium, zinc, vitamins C, D and B12.

Customer review: "This tasted almost as nice as I remember from years ago. It’s great at night, but also any time of day. Really satisfying and relaxing - I love it and will buy again. Very easy to make in the microwave, so no milk pan to wash up."

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Horlicks Vegan Malted Drink 400g

Best vegan malted milk for sleep

Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle with the Horlicks Vegan Malted Drink 400g. Take a moment during bedtime to sip at this plant-based drink - high in calcium, zinc, vitamins C, D and B12.

Customer review: "I've just discovered the vegan Horlicks. I try to choose vegan where I can. This is lovely, I could not taste any difference between the original & the vegan Horlicks & the vegan one is healthier & less fattening than the original, so that's even better!

The one thing that lets all Horlicks down is their use of palm oil, which is why I only gave 4 stars not 5. In 2024 there is no reason for the continued use of this oil, leading to the devastation of rain forests & orangatangs natural habitat. I urge food producers to switch to an alternative, which does not cause such devastation to our planet & wild animals."

Tart cherry

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:

Best tart cherry drink for sleep

A sophisticated alternative to breakfast juices or a nighttime drink, this Biona Organic Tart Cherry Juice 1L is good for you and the planet - tangy, zesty and full of vitamins and antioxidants to aid sleep.

Customer review: "My mum has had trouble sleeping for over a year, but after trying biona tart cherry juice, she now sleeps well. We will keep purchasing this juice."

Best tart cherry food for sleep

High in antioxidants and with many health promoting properties, the Berrilys Organic Dried Cherries, 450g are perfect for snacking - whether at the start of your day or at the end of it, to help you sleep.

Customer review: "Good for arthritis sufferers due to the anthocyanins and also good as natural source of melatonin (regulates the sleep cycle). They are also delicious and a super healthy snack."

Best tart cherry supplement for sleep

Indulge in the restorative power of the Montmorency Cherry Capsules 6000mg, 180 Capsules. Crafted with high-potency cherry extract, these vegan capsules offer sleep support and overall health benefits.

Customer review: "Awesome product! Superb quality and it really works for relaxation and getting a great night's sleep."

FAQs

Any other natural remedies?

Aside from food, other traditional remedies are thought to improve the quality and length of sleep. You can find many of these ingredients in sleep or pillow sprays - to help aid relaxation and de-stressing.

These include:

• Valerian

• St. John’s Wort

• Passionflower tea

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.

Piper Huxley is a Homes, Garden and Wellness Product Writer for Spirit & Destiny, an all-rounder: from health to spirituality. When not at her desk, she’s practising yoga or in deep reflection.

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