More and more sleep science points to what may be a counterintuitive fact: The key to getting good sleep is to adopt healthy habits both in and out of the bedroom. That’s right, quality sleep hinges on more than the tried-and-true practices of going to bed at the same time every night, keeping electronics out of the bedroom, and investing in the right mattress.
While important, these habits are only a small sliver of the arsenal of tools available to the sleep-deprived masses questing for better Zzz’s. Research is now pointing to the importance of holistic strategies like stress reduction, exercise, and even diet. In other words? To eat better is to sleep better. To that end, here are 10 foods that have been scientifically proven to promote better sleep.
Almonds are high in magnesium, a mineral that plays an important role in helping people fall and stay asleep. In fact, magnesium deficiency is consistently linked to decreased sleep quality. So nom on some nuts throughout the day (or before bed) in order to ensure that your body is getting the magnesium it needs.
These cheery fruits contain high levels of both potassium and magnesium, which help to relax muscles and induce a sense of calm. They’re also carbs—meaning that they’ll give your body a spike of energy followed by a rise in sleepiness. Pair them with some lean protein for a healthy, sleep-inducing late-night snack.
3. Chamomile Tea
It’s not just an old wives’ tale: Drinking chamomile tea really can help put you to sleep. That’s because the tea has been shown to increase the body’s levels of the chemical glycine, which has a relaxing effect and may even perform like a mild sedative.
Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas contain high levels of vitamin B6, which is critical for the body’s production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin, in turn, plays an important role in inducing sleep.
5. Dark, Leafy Greens
Kale, collards, spinach, and other leafy greens are rich in calcium, a nutrient that helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Calcium deficiency has been linked to insomnia, so consuming enough calcium can up your chances of getting better sleep.
They don’t just taste great; they also naturally contain melatonin, which is essential for maintaining the body’s sleep-wake cycle. The benefits may be even greater if you sip cherry juice: A 2014 study found that participants who drank tart cherry juice twice a day noted improvements in both sleep duration and sleep quality.
Like chickpeas, fish are high in vitamin B6, which the body requires in order to make sleep-inducing melatonin. Salmon, halibut, and tuna are particularly great options for those looking to up their B6 intake.
8. Hard-boiled Egg
The lean protein found in eggs makes for an ideal pre-bedtime snack because it provides a stable source of energy. In other words? Consuming an egg before bed will help prevent blood sugar crashes while you’re sleeping—meaning you’re more likely to stay asleep after you’ve nodded off.
9. Miso Soup
Miso contains amino acids that aid in the production of melatonin. It’s also a particularly great choice if you’re having trouble sleeping because of a cold; studies suggest that consuming warm liquids (like, say, soup) helps to relieve symptoms and makes it easier to fall asleep even when you’re under the weather.
Instead of eating oatmeal at breakfast, you may want to consider consuming it as a pre-bedtime snack. That’s because oats contain melatonin, which will aid your body in relaxing and falling asleep.
Even if none of the foods on this list suit your taste buds, consider them guideposts for the best kinds of food to eat if you’re in pursuit of better sleep. Opt for foods that provide complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, heart-healthy fats, and calming properties, and you’ll improve your chances of falling—and staying—asleep.
Create a nighttime ritual with ALOHA Sleep Tea, a soothing combination of chamomile, valerian root, and lemon balm that will help your body to unwind and relax.