Sleep: If you don’t have enough of it, nothing else feels like it will fall into line. Maybe it’s a baby, a next-door neighbor, or the world news keeping you up nights. It’s understandable, but it doesn’t help with stress management if you roll out of bed and into that bright new day … bleary.
Medical professionals don’t agree on much, but they do generally agree that diet and exercise can help you sleep well, which tends to lead to better overall health. You might know to avoid caffeine later in the day, and not to lie down immediately after eating, but the science on the precise foods to eat for better sleep can shift. Turkey, for example, was once famously thought to help you sleep well. That’s been disproven. The tryptophan—an amino acid—in turkey has been proven not to be the thing that makes you konk out after Thanksgiving dinner. (The volume of what you ate might be, and tryptophan can be potent in other foods).
That said, there’s a good bit of agreement among those who study these things about what could potentially help you snag more zzzs. Melatonin, serotonin and tryptophan are the major players. Magnesium and potassium, which surface in foods like bananas, can help, too, as they tend to help muscles relax. (For a deep dive, follow the links below to two great articles.) Here are a few of their top potentially sleep-inducing foods—followed by, most importantly, our favorite recipes employing them.
Complex Carbs (Popcorn, Oatmeal)
Almonds and walnuts
Raspberries, tart cherries, bananas, pineapples, oranges, and kiwifruit
OK, get cooking! (And snoozing.)
Ahhh. Love almond milk!. Can’t you picture sipping on a bit of that before settling in for the night? (Pro tip: It’s super easy to make.) We also reckon it would be gorgeous in latté form, particularly in a decaf latté, if you have one of our milk frothers on hand.
Modeled after chef Rick Bayless’s favorite horchata in Oaxaca, Mexico, this silky beverage mingles rice and almonds to delicate, gorgeous effect. Yes, you have to start the night before you make it, but then you blitz everything together and it’s ready in 10 minutes.
Though this lovely cherry sparkler may look like an eye-opener as opposed to a potable that can help you snooze, cherries are a great source of melatonin. We love that this drink is ready in five—yes, five—minutes. It’s just cherry juice, sparkling water, and more cherries. Talk about a relaxing recipe.
Swap raspberries in for the strawberries in this kiwi smoothie for (possibly!) even more Zzzs. It’s as delicious as it is beautiful, and nice and silky thanks to banana (also a possible sleep aid!) and yogurt in its base.
Those who eat granola daily have one more thing to lord over the rest of us: They may well sleep better. This recipe is saturated with ingredients that could help you sleep, oats and almonds chief among them. We love the drizzle of maple (key in granola, in our opinion) and splash of almond milk. This low-sugar granola, or a bowl of warm oatmeal, are among some of the best choices when it comes to healthy midnight snacks.