Beverages, Foods, and Vitamins that Help You Sleep

Updated May 27, 2022

chamomile tea

A Safer Alternative

If you're having trouble sleeping, there's a host of remedies that can help you calm down your body and mind to find sleep. These days, there's a wide assortment of pharmaceutical sleep aids, and while many of them can help you fall asleep quickly, some prevent your body from getting the deep, restful sleep it needs. Many over-the-counter sleep aids keep you from achieving REM sleep, so you wake up feeling tired and groggy.

At US-Mattress, we encourage the use of non-clinical sleep aids whenever possible. Fortunately, there are a number of non-medicinal beverages that will help you fall asleep at night, and many of them are drinks you know and love.

What Beverages Help With Sleep?

  • Warm Milk: This timeless aid for sleeplessness is said to be effective because milk contains a high amount of the amino acid tryptophan, which is believed to aid the mind and body in relaxation.

  • Lemon, Ginger, and Honey Tea: If you're not in the mood for warm milk, then these are a good alternative. Try mixing some lemon wedges, sliced ginger, and a generous teaspoon of honey in a mug of hot water. Allow the ingredients to infuse over a few minutes, and then sip slowly.

  • Chamomile Tea: All species of chamomile flower contain relaxants, so a hot cup of chamomile tea may give you the extra push you need to fall asleep. Slowly drinking something hot and soothing, like chamomile tea, about a half-hour or so before bed helps the body relax and prepare for sleep.

  • Lemon Balm Tea: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, and it has a delightfully sweet and lemony taste. According to historians, lemon balm has been used as a sleep aid since the Middle Ages. You can make your own by steeping lemon balm leaves in boiling water.

  • Tart Cherry Juice: Studies have linked consuming two 8-ounce servings of tart cherry juice during the day (one in the morning and one a couple of hours before bed) to a significant decrease in insomnia. This is likely because cherries contain melatonin, which is an antioxidant that helps regulate the sleep cycle.

While these remedies aren't guaranteed to work for everyone, you may find one particularly useful in helping you get the deep, restorative sleep that your body needs. Of course, if your sleep problems persist, then you should contact your physician, as you may need something more potent to help you find sleep. For more information, we have some dietary advice for what to eat before bed. 

What Foods Help You Sleep?

banana pic

Eat to Sleep

If you've ever struggled through a night, tossing and turning while you try to find sleep, then you can imagine how frustrating it is to deal with sleeplessness on a regular basis. Sleep is so vital to our health, but unfortunately, many of us don't get the amount of rest that our bodies need. With a host of over-the-counter clinical sleep aids on the market, there are many quick solutions for sleeplessness. Pharmaceutical aids can put you to sleep quickly, many decrease the amount of time you spend in REM sleep, keeping you from experiencing the full restorative qualities of a good night of rest.

Fortunately, there are a number of foods that you can eat that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Many common foods can aid you in your quest for sleep, and some of them may be in your refrigerator or pantry right now.

Sleep-Friendly Foods

  • Almonds - Almonds contain magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. They also contain proteins that can help you maintain a stable blood sugar level, which can help you stay in a deep sleep.

  • Miso Soup - While you most likely eat this soup in a Japanese restaurant, you might want to start keeping some in your pantry at home. Miso contains amino acids that help to boost the production of melatonin, which is a natural hormone that helps us sleep.

  • Bananas - Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium, which help to relax overstressed muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which converts to serotonin and melatonin after it's digested.

  • Oatmeal - Oatmeal is probably something you eat at the start of your day, but it can be beneficial at the end of your day as well. Oatmeal is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and potassium, all of which promote healthy sleep. Avoid excessive sweetening when you eat oatmeal at night, though, as too much sugar before bed can have an anti-calming effect. Instead of sugar, consider topping your oatmeal with bananas.

  • Hard-Boiled Eggs - If you have trouble staying asleep at night, it may be the result of a bedtime snack that's too high in simple carbohydrates, as in candy and other sweet treats. Simple carbohydrates create blood sugar swings that can interrupt your sleep throughout the night. Protein-rich foods like eggs will help you maintain a steady blood sugar level, allowing you to sleep without interruption.

  • Fish - Many fish, especially salmon, tuna, and halibut, are rich in vitamin B6, which is instrumental in the creation of melatonin.

  • Yogurt - Dairy products like yogurt contain a healthy amount of calcium, and research indicates that calcium-deficient people have a harder time falling asleep.

Vitamins and Sleep

hands holding pills

Is a Lack of Vitamins Causing a Lack of Sleep?

Are you experiencing sleep deprivation? One of the reasons for your sleep issues could be a lack of certain vitamins. If you are not taking care of your body or making unhealthy choices for yourself, it could harm your sleep quality which could eventually lead to other health issues.

Some problems that can occur are high blood pressure, restless leg syndrome (RLS), a weakened immune system, and many others. If you would like to know other causes of sleep loss check out our page. This page will cover different vitamins, supplements, and herbs along with the different benefits they provide.

Iron

Iron helps our blood provide oxygen to our cells and tissues. An iron deficiency has been associated with certain sleep disorders. The most common is restless leg syndrome.

If you find yourself involuntarily kicking your legs while trying to sleep consider taking iron supplements to raise your iron level. If you do not want to take supplements there are several foods such as chicken, spinach, and several other foods that are high in iron. See the full guide on the American Red Cross website.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that releases tension and helps your muscles to relax. The way it prepares you for sleep helps those struggling with insomnia. Another benefit to this mineral is that it produces melatonin which is discussed later. If you wish to consume magnesium more naturally it can be found in whole grains, fish, and dark, leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be taken in through vitamins as well as sun exposure. This vitamin can also be found in foods such as fatty fish, milk, and eggs. A Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to disrupted sleep and daytime sleepiness.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone procured in the brain and released into the bloodstream. It is produced at night when you sleep. When you turn out the lights the darkness triggers the pineal gland in your brain to produce melatonin while the light shuts down production.

Melatonin helps regulate the circadian rhythm and the sleep-wake cycle. Your body increases melatonin when you sleep, but if you don’t get enough it becomes harder to sleep. This can cause people to spiral downward.

If this happens to you a good option for some people trying to catch some zzz’s are melatonin supplements, however experts warn of side effects such as strange dreams. If you don’t want pills tart cherry juice is one of the best sleep aids. Eggs, milk, and fish are among other foods that help increase melatonin levels.

B Vitamins

Different types of B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folic acid, and several others. These vitamins generally help give your body energy. Some vitamins help with insomnia while others keep you from other sleep problems like waking up in the middle of the night.

B Vitamins also help your red blood cells grow and prevent infections. Because there are so many different vitamins and foods that help provide them, it would be impossible to list them all. Here is a list from Harvard Public Health.

Chamomile

Chamomile is an herb, not a vitamin but it can help with sleep. Most people consume it through chamomile tea or as an essential oil. Chamomile can be found in several “bedtime teas” and help manage anxiety and calm your nerves.

Calcium and Potassium

Calcium and potassium can both help you stay asleep. Calcium helps your brain use amino acids to make melatonin while potassium can help fight insomnia and poor sleep. They can be taken through pills, but they can also both be found in bananas, broccoli, and avocados.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help with sleep. Like iron, vitamin E can help with help RLS as well as night sweats. Vitamin E can be found in certain food oils, peanuts, and spinach as well as other foods.

Valerian Root

Valerian root has been known to fight anxiety and sleep disorders for hundreds of years. This can be taken in a pill but also can be found in tea like chamomile. This is a natural option for anyone struggling to sleep.

Conclusion

Using the following vitamins, minerals, and herbs, you should be able to get better sleep. Most of these can easily be found in pill form or they can be consumed through several different foods. Most foods contain multiple vitamins so maintaining a balanced diet will help ensure you get the vitamins you need. 

Need More Help?

While these remedies aren't guaranteed to work for every restless sleeper, you may find some of these foods instrumental in helping you get the deep, restorative sleep that your body needs. Naturally, if your sleep problems persist, then you should contact your physician as your insomnia could be a sign of a more serious illness. This page has a list of sleep disorders that you could be facing. Also, remember that your mattress plays a large role in your overall quality of sleep.

If your mattress is worn out, it may contribute to your sleeplessness. If you believe that your mattress is the reason for your sleeplessness, then you can call 1-800-455-1052 to speak with one of our friendly mattress experts who can help you find the best options for your sleep needs.


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