Foods that Help you Sleep

10.4.2020

Discover the top foods that help you sleep well and some simple changes to your nighttime routine that can change the game.

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Sleep is integral to good health. It supports healthy brain function which makes you more alert and focused during the day, is linked to emotional well-being, and boosts your immune system to keep any yucky germs at bay. Also, while you’re sleeping, your body is in hardcore repair mode. Muscles get a chance to be replenished, and damaged cells and blood vessels are repaired.

Unfortunately, nearly 35% of Americans suffer from symptoms of insomnia. It’s time we take advantage of the natural foods and drinks that support better sleep. Of course eating a healthy, varied diet full of fresh fruits and veggies also helps. But getting a good night’s sleep, magnifies every other effort towards living the best life possible.

All of that sounds great, right? Yes, but if you’re struggling to get good quality sleep at night, you may be wondering—how can I get in on all those awesome sleep benefits?

Foods that help you sleep

5 Foods that help you sleep

Discover the top foods that help you sleep well and some simple changes to your night-time routine that can turn you into Sleeping Beauty.

Eating a light snack that combines protein and carbs is a great way to promote a restful night. These 6 foods have scientific research supporting their benefits for a good night of sleep.

Banana

Banana has a modest source of magnesium, which may help you get a good night’s sleep by relaxing your muscles.

Oats

Oatmeal is high in carbs and fiber, which is good for the belly in small amounts. Oats have been reported to induce drowsiness when consumed before bed, most likely due to the small levels of melatonin.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea contains the antioxidant, apigenin, which binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness. This explains why most sleep teas use chamomile.

Tart Cherry Juice

These cherries have above-average concentrations of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps promote healthy sleep. They’re also lower in sugar than other cherries, which will keep your energy levels low so you can rest and recharge.

Almonds

Almonds are an excellent source of magnesium and the hormone melatonin. Melatonin regulates your internal clock and signals your body to prepare for sleep.

Trace Minerals

Ion drops, trace minerals supplement, or a bath with epsom salts can helps with muscle relaxation, which promotes better sleep.

You can happily sip on our warmed Spiced Almond Milk, Lavender Tea Latte or a super healthy warm green smoothie. I’ve created a smoothie recipe specifically to help with falling asleep. Yes, it’s legit! Give it a blend about an hour before you’re ready to go to bed and drink it at a slow and steady pace (no chugging).

foods that help you sleep can be warm and protein rich.
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Sleep Well Smoothie

  • Author: Jen Hansard
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 oz smoothie 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Not sure how to sleep well naturally? I’ve got you covered with this healthy, calming green smoothie that is loaded with nutrients to help keep your tummy from rumbling in the night.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup brewed chamomile tea (cooled)
  • 1/2 cup tart cherry juice (or more tea)
  • 1 large banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter

Instructions

  1. Place uncooked oats in blender. Blend until finely ground.
  2. Add spinach, chamomile tea, cherry juice, bananas, and almond butter to the blender. Puree until smooth.
  3. Pour into a glass or mug and enjoy.

Notes

  • If unsweetened tart red cherry juice can’t be procured, substitute with extra chamomile tea or water. Or use 1 cup frozen or fresh tart red cherries plus a little water.
  • For a really soothing nighttime drink, this smoothie can also be served warmed up.

Keywords: Chamomile bedtime green smoothie

Foods that help you sleep well include smoothies with lavender.

Healthy Habits to Sleep Well

Get a Buckwheat Sleep Pillow

Your pillow is there to support your neck and upper back, which is important to help maintain proper alignment of your spine while sleeping.

Finding a pillow I loved took some trial and error—but now I’m obsessed with my Beans 72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow . It helps support my neck and molds to my head, but doesn’t collapse like foam pillows. It also doesn’t hold heat. You can even sprinkle your pillow with lavender essential oil to help relax quickly.

Bedtime Tea

I can’t take credit for this Yogi Bedtime tea—Tim Ferris actually got me hooked on it. My husband and I drink it every single night in bed together (and have it on an Amazon subscription so we don’t run out). The mix of herbs in this particular blend is specifically designed to promote sleep. Chamomile, skullcap, and poppy all soothe the nervous system and may help reduce anxiety. As an added benefit, the mixture of vanilla and caramel tastes amazing!

Sleep with Ear Plugs

I got into using earplugs to sleep back when I was in college and my husband and I lived in a super noisy apartment. Even though we no longer have to deal with noisy neighbors and are happily settled on a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs, I still use earplugs to guarantee a good night of sleep. My husband occasionally snores (even though he denies it) and the train whistles toots, so the earplugs drown that out.

Limit caffeine after 2pm to sleep well

If you’re a coffee lover like me, you’ve probably found yourself in the situation when your heart is racing at bedtime thanks to that 4 PM latte. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system which can disrupt sleep patterns when consumed too late in the day. I’ve even read articles from sleep experts that recommend cutting out caffeine completely from your diet. These days, I’m definitely more conscious of how much caffeine I’m consuming, and if I do have a cup of coffee, I make sure it’s before 2 PM.

P.S. If you’re looking for an awesome afternoon coffee alternative, I’m a huge fan of Dandy Blend tea. It is the closest thing I’ve found to coffee and is gluten-free + caffeine free!

Best time to sleep: 10pm-2am

Did you know the most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM – 2 AM? Yep. This is prime sleep time. I know for me, if I’m not in bed by 10 PM one of two things happen—either I’ll wake up not feeling as rested because I didn’t get a big chunk of “deep sleep time”, or else I’ll get a second wind and it’s difficult for me to fall asleep at all. I try to make sure I am in bed by 9pm, which means my teeth are brushed and my face is washed. That gives me an hour to sip on my tea and watch a show with the hubby and shut my eyes around 10pm.

Invest in a heating/cooling mattress pad

The chiliPad is a hydro-powered mattress pad with a thermal regulating control unit. It allows me to set the mattress temperature to keep me cool all night. I set the temperature for 69° F and it will circulate water at that temperature to keep me cool. Ryan and I both use this (we each have our own temperature control) and have enjoyed staying cool all night long.

At first I thought it was a little indulgent, yet now we see the value in it. We sleep well (which is worth it right there), but we also don’t need to crank the air down so much at night.

Now, what works for me, may not work for you. I’d love to hear your personal experience with foods and sleeping tricks that work for you.

COMMENTS
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  1. Erin says:

    This was the ticket! Helped me calm down and sleep well; thanks for the great recipe.

  2. Carol Wilcox says:

    This sounds amazing. I seem to be sensitive to chamomile. The plant makes me sneeze and have itchy eyes and the tea seems to upset my stomach. Is there a good swap? Dandelion root tea maybe? Don’t know if it has the same sleep benefits, but green tea would miss the whole purpose, I have been following you for years and I recommend your site to my customers who are looking to eat better. I tell them how much my granddaughter loves her smoothies. Especially the beet/cherry pom smoothie before bed.

  3. Dr Bob Nicholls says:

    I came across this excellent article whilst looking to see if it was advisable to drink a vegetable-based smoothie before going to bed. – clearly it is! As I don’t eat anywhere near enough vegetables I decided to invest in a blender. I have usually made a smoothie to drink in the morning before I go to the gym (can’t go now because of the blooming virus). Because the days seem long now being stuck in all day, I keep going to bed for an hour or so during the day but consequently have trouble sleeping at night. Just for a change I decided to have my veg and fruit smoothies just before I retired for the night. Bingo! I slept like a log! My smoothie by the way was very simple as I’m still getting used to using it. It was just cucumber, celery, a few chunks of melon, a pineapple ring (tinned) and topped up with almond milk. Thanks for the article – very interesting.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      That’s great to hear! We love smoothies for all kinds of reasons and improving sleep is def one of them. Happy blending! 😀

  4. Susan Amonds says:

    I really appreciate your article. I have crohn’s so I cant eat bananas or oats, and careful with chamomile. How can I know what to interchange so I can juice the right things for me?
    Thanks
    Susie

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Susan, I recommend you speak with your health care practitioner and/or nutritionist regarding your diet and substitutions you can make that will work best for you. They know you + your body best. If you can’t eat oats, bananas, or chamomile, I’m not sure this smoothie is right for you. But not to worry! We have tons of delicious smoothie recipes that contain a variety of nutrient-packed ingredients. 🙂

  5. DAVIDE//DAVIDE! says:

    A vegies smoothie ,stretching,,soft music , hot all over sponge off,planks,

  6. Pat says:

    Haven’t tried it yet, it seems like a lot to consume if I’ve eaten supper. Also seems like a lot of liquid to take in before bed, especially as I struggle with waking up too many times at night to get a good rest. But I would like an alkalyzing evening or bedtime drink. A dilemma for sure.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Pat, the recipe makes 2 servings. We do recommend drinking this an hour before bed but if that’s still too close to bedtime for you, drink it earlier. If this smoothie doesn’t seem like it would be a good fit for you, def take a look at the other things we listed to help you sleep well naturally. Maybe you can find some items on our list that would work for you.

  7. Chelsea says:

    Any recommendations on a good brand of unsweetened tart cherry juice? Preferably organic as well. I cant seem to find a good one!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hey Chelsea, I’m not sure! We love using Thrive Market for natural and organic food products. Def check them out, they might have what you’re looking for!

  8. Linda says:

    I don’t think i could have this an hour before going to bed !

  9. Justine says:

    Mine came out much more purple than green. It looks nothing like yours. Is it a full cup of tart cherry juice?

    • SGS Rawkstar Carissa says:

      Hey Justine,

      It is totally fine if your smoothie was not as green as the photo. Jen likes to pack in her greens when she makes her smoothies. The more greens you add the more “green-ish” it will look. If you are wanting it to look more green then pack your spinach in your measuring cup a little more.

      Hope that help!

  10. Sarai Martinez says:

    I will definitely try this before bed! I’m a horrible sleeper I’ll be good if I get 4hrs of sleep in. I’m a caffeine addict so that doesn’t help either. I did try the Spiced almond milk, but in the morning to replace my coffee. It was delicious but of course my body needed its caffeine. But this drink sound amazing before bedtime. Thank you for the recipe!

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Sarai,

      Wishing you better sleep! Makes sure + reach back out – I’d love to hear how this green smoothie helps your sleep habits!

    • Mary Esta says:

      The spiced almond milk is perfect in the morning as a replacement for coffee if you tweek it. Sometimes I add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of instant coffee. That way, it’s still less caffeine than the average cup which calls for 1 full tsp, and much less caffeine than a large mug of regular brewed coffee. Other times, especially to help my thyroid, I add a small dose of Korean red ginseng. This actually is a better boost than caffeine and I don’t really taste it in the drink. However, I either omit the cayenne or just use a quarter of what is called for. But with the Korean ginseng, I’m getting a major energy boost that actually helps the thyroid whereas caffeine can hinder the thyroid. I used the instant coffee if I’m out of ginseng or just miss that coffee flavour but want to control the am out of coffee/caffeine. Try it out – u might have a new morning energy drink that’s healthier!

      • SGS Rawkstar Carissa says:

        That sounds like a great idea! Thank you for sharing that with us 🙂

  11. Natasha says:

    Is there any way to sub the bananas?

  12. Ellen Hoke says:

    Great “How to sleep well naturally” tips! I need to start taking a lot of these into consideration. Also, this nighttime smoothie looks really good. All of the ingredients that go into it sound really delicious. I’m going to have to try this out. Thank you!
    https://fitnessthingsbyellen.wordpress.com

  13. Tasha says:

    How often should you make this smoothie? Do you recommend every night before bed?

  14. DEBRA says:

    Can you give a nutrition count for this recipe?

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Debra,

      We personally don’t count calories, so we don’t include them in our recipes at this time. You’ll find that when you consume more nourishing whole fruits and veggies, you will not only feel full longer, but you’ll also have lessened cravings for high-calorie, nutritionally empty foods. So in the end it balances out. But we know many people would like to have calorie info. Three great resources for tracking calories are Self Nutrition Data, and the phone apps: My Fitness Pal and Lose It.

  15. Harris says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I noticed the bananas made it a little too sweet for my taste. Is there another fruit or veggie I can substitute with the same properties?

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Harris,

      Looking to swap out those bananas! I’ve got you covered! Some of my favorite swaps are mango, papaya, pears, unsweetened applesauce, nut butters, chia seeds, fresh dates + avocado. If you want the creaminess, but less sweetness – then avocado would definitely be my go-to!

  16. Heather says:

    Wow, this smoothie is just what I need. Do you have a recommendation on what you can swap out for the rolled oats? I’m a paleo.

  17. Sue B says:

    I just made this tonight. It’s so delicious. This whole post inspired me to go to bed earlier which I need to do. Now having a yummy bedtime smoothie will hopefully help motivate me! Oh and I swapped the plain tart cherry juice for Trader Joe’s Power juice which I had on hand. The second ingredient after pomegranate is cherry so hopefully it’s a decent serving. It definitely worked flavor wise.

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Sue,

      YAY! Cheers to blendin’ green smoothies + getting better sleep! And kale yea, Trader Joe’s Power Juice sounds like a great quick swap!

  18. Julie says:

    What would you suggest instead of chamomile tea. Its a member of the ragweed family and as such I can’t drink it.

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Julie,

      Can’t do chamomile tea? Some other herbal teas that are great for sleep are valerian, lavender, lemon balm, and peppermint. Find one you love + give it a try in our Bedtime Green Smoothie!

  19. Maire Bradley says:

    Can you swop out the banana? It’s the one fruit I really dislike. I’ve been reading up on the benefits of cherry juice for sleep so would love to try the smoothie. Thanks

    • Jen Hansard says:

      Of course. Banana can be tough on come people. I would swap with peaches, apricots or even dates to give it some sweetness.

    • Sue B says:

      I’d also consider putting some avocado. It will keep the creaminess that makes it really nice.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    That smoothie sounds perfectly yummy! Too bad I didn’t know about this last week, when I had a bottle of cherry juice that my husband accidentally bought insteadof the cranberry I asked for. At least I know where to get the cherry juice! 🙂

    • Jen Hansard says:

      Dang… I was a week off posting this! Well you at least know where to get the cherry juice now to make this one. Love how you think of the positive. 🙂

  21. TONYA P MCDONALD says:

    Does this smoothie keep well over night? I’m single and would love to have a ready to go night time drink in the fridge on busy late nights.

    • Jen Hansard says:

      It would work! I think that’s a great idea. I honestly might store it in the fridge and the warm it up before I hit the hay.

  22. Amy says:

    Hiya I wanna try your sleepy smoothie but am allergic to nuts. Is there a substitute for almond butter I could use? Thanks. Amy

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