Man with sleep mask drinking milk in the refrigerator

There are a lot of different factors which play a role in getting a good night’s sleep. But did you know that what you eat can potentially influence how much rest you get?

If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, take a look at this list for ideas of foods that could help you sleep, as well as those you should avoid.

Keep in mind with these suggestions that too much of a good thing is possible when it comes to a bedtime snack. Remember to be mindful of portion size as eating too much of any food too close to bedtime is not a good idea.

Foods That Help You Sleep

1. Nuts

One of the best choices you can make for a bedtime snack is nuts. Nuts have magnesium, which has a relaxing effect on the mind and body. A deficiency in magnesium can interfere with your ability to unwind and fall asleep.

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Nuts also contain unsaturated fat, which may boost serotonin levels in the brain; this in turn can aid relaxation and enable you to fall asleep more easily.

Foods That Help You Sleep nuts

Source: “Creative Commons Nuts” by IainBuchanan

2. Cherries

Cherries contain the hormone melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid.

Melatonin is thought to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle by controlling the body’s internal clock.

When selecting cherries, keep in mind that there are two varieties: sweet and tart. The tart cherries are your better bet when it comes to helping to promote sleep.

Foods That Help You Sleep cherries

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3. Bananas

Bananas are a great food choice to promote slumber.

Bananas contain potassium and magnesium, both of which are natural muscle relaxants and may encourage sleep.

But that’s not all- bananas also contain L-tryptophan, which the body converts to 5-hydroxytryptophan and then to serotonin.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, serotonin has a positive effect on sleep.

Foods That Help You Sleep banana

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4. Green Tea with Honey

You may have heard about some of the health benefits of green tea, but it can also have a sleep-inducing effect.

Green tea contains the amino acid theanine, which promotes relaxation and may help you unwind and fall asleep.

Since green tea does have caffeine, stick to the decaffeinated kind. Adding a few drops of honey may compound the benefits.

Honey is thought to reduce the production of orexin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps you stay alert.

Foods That Help You Sleep green tea

Source: “Creative Commons Green tea” by Dan McKay

Foods That Keep You Awake

Just as there are certain foods that can help you get to sleep and enhance your sleep quality, other foods can interfere with sleep.

1. French Fries

Foods high in fat disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, and French fries fit the bill when it comes to high fat foods. In addition, potatoes contain tyramine, which the body converts to the stimulant noradrenaline.

If you crave carbs, you are better off having a bowl of whole grain cereal and milk for a late night snack than indulging in a high-fat snack.

Foods That Keep You Awake fries

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2. Wine

You may think a glass of wine will help you relax and get to sleep.

However, drinking any type of alcohol can sabotage your rest.

Alcohol can cause more frequent awakenings and lead to headaches, both of which can interfere with restful sleep.

In addition, alcohol appears to interfere with REM sleep and decreases restorative, sound sleep.

Foods That Keep You Awake wine

Source: “Creative Commons Wine” Uncalno Tekno

3. Chocolate

Chocolate contains sugar, fats and caffeine, all of which are no-no’s when it comes to restful sleep.

Chocolate also contains the stimulant theobromine, which may increase your heart rate and make it difficult to fall asleep.

Although some studies suggest a few benefits from eating dark chocolate, such as decreasing cortisol levels in the body, save your chocolate treat for during the day.

Foods That Keep You Awake chocolate

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