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4 foods for a better night’s sleep

If you’ve spent too many nights counting sheep, try eating these foods. They’ll help promote a better night’s sleep, so that you can wake up refreshed, bright-eyed and full of energy.

Woman sleeping peacefully

Been having trouble getting your zzz’s lately? Tossing and turning night after night can leave you exhausted and irritable (not to mention with some serious dark circles under your eyes). Adjusting your diet to include more of the foods below may help you get more sleep time. So tuck in now, and your head may be hitting that pillow sooner than you expect.


Chicken will do — or any source of protein, in fact. If you’re waking up in the middle of the night, it may be because your stomach is growling. Some protein before bed will help you feel full, and you’ll be less likely to wake up from hunger. (Now you can feel a bit less guilty about the chicken leg you snacked on this evening!) For something lighter, try a small serving of cottage cheese (also high in protein).


Enjoy some steelcut oats for breakfast? Try them in the evening for a solid beauty sleep. The carbohydrates will encourage a release of serotonin, serotonin being the feel-good hormone. More serotonin translates to less stress. Also, since these carbs are digested slowly, you won’t experience a blood-sugar crash in the middle of night (which could stir you awake).

Warm milk

There’s a reason your mom used to prepare this for you at night. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which promote sleepiness. Milk also is rich in calcium, which helps with the brain’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your body’s circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycles).


Put away the cookies and snack on some grapes at bedtime — or try some dried tart cherries instead. Grapes and tart cherries contain melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Top your oatmeal (see above) for a carb- and melatonin-rich snack, or combine with yogurt or cottage cheese.

Grapes, you say? Grapes = wine = nightcap, right? Not exactly. While wine might help you fall asleep, researchers have found that alcohol affects how well you stay asleep. In a study published in Alcholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, researchers found that alcohol interferes with sleep quality and restorative sleep by affecting the part of the nervous system that normally dominates at nighttime, directing the body to rest.

More about what to eat

5 foods to improve your mood
What to eat after a workout
5 ways to snack smarter

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