Sleep better: eat these 5 foods

peanut butter

Because I’m in the sleep industry, many people ask me for tips on how to enhance their sleep.  Whilst this can depend on many things, stress being the most obvious, one of the main culprits is what we put in our mouth.  Nutritionist Lisa Kim shares the top 5 foods guaranteed to make you sleep better.

Cottage cheese

Your road to being able to sleep better could start with  a simple half- to one cup of cottage cheese before you turn in for the night.  Cottage cheese is a perfect source of protein before bed since it contains  slow-digesting casein proteins that will distribute the amino acids to the  muscle tissues for hours to come. In addition to this, it’s really  going to help improve your sleep as it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which  will naturally induce sleep in the body and help you get a better night’s rest.  Yes, the idea that turkey has enough tryptophan to knock you out is a little  farfetched, but the amino acid does facilitate serotonin production and  serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. Pair your  cottage cheese with a tablespoon of natural almond butter to keep the body  satisfied for the overnight fast to come.


While most people think of porridge as a breakfast food, it does  work well in the evening due to the fact that the carbohydrates cause a  serotonin release in the body. Serotonin is a ”feel good” hormone that decreases  stress and puts you in a much calmer state of mind. Since porridge is also a slower digesting source of carbohydrates, you won’t have to worry about  waking up halfway through the night with crashing blood sugar levels.   Slice up half an apple and add to your porridge, along with a bit of cinnamon.  Serve with a splash of skim milk if desired.

Peanuts or peanut butter

Another food that you should consider if you  often have difficulty falling asleep is peanuts or  natural peanut butter. Peanuts are a rich source of niacin, which is another  nutrient that helps to increase the release of serotonin in the system.    They are slightly higher in both fat and calories, so you’ll want to  keep your portion sizes under control. However, when peanuts or peanut butter  are eaten in moderation, they are definitely the perfect addition to any diet  plan. Try having a piece of whole grain toast smeared with peanut  butter for best results.

Warm milk

You might have heard it before and just chalked it up to an  old wives tale, but having a glass of warm milk before bed can actually promote  faster sleep. The reason behind this is due to the fact that milk also contains  that tryptophan amino acid, and for most people, the warm liquid provides a  soothing effect and will have a very relaxing effect. Additionally,  milk also offers up a good dose of calcium, which works in the brain to help  regulate the production of melatonin, which is a substance that’s going to  naturally control your  sleep-wake cycle.  Add a teaspoon of honey if you prefer to sweeten  it up and provide a bit of carbohydrates that will further cause a serotonin  release.


Finally, the last food that you’ll want to consider having  before bed to help promote a restful night’s sleep is grapes. Grapes are the only fruit found to contain the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, so by adding  them regularly to your diet, you can help boost the natural sleep-wake cycle in  the body. This will then allow you to get to sleep faster each night.   Toss some sliced grapes into a small bowl of yogurt for added calcium, and  you’ll have a perfect before-bed snack.