While somewhere deep down we have the understanding of how inherently important sleep is, a lot of times it gets away from us. Sleep and recovery have huge importance not only on how we feel, but also on our hormones and the way the body functions in general. 

Just getting adequate amounts of sleep is not enough, you should make sure you’re getting good quality sleep. 

Some things that can improve overall quality of your sleep are: 

  • Using blue light glasses 
  • Staying away from technology couple hours before bedtime
  • Creating a nighttime routine
  • Drinking some soothing tea or reishi close to bed
  • Abstaining from alcohol to close to when you sleep too 
  • Having a caffeine curfew aka not having caffeine too late in the day  
  • Having your last meal a few hours before bed, hence, giving your body time to digest food

While all of them hold value in the quality of your sleep, eating too close to bedtime could affect sleep in a negative way. Our bodies use a lot of energy when it comes to digestion, and you want that energy to be used while you’re awake, so when you are sleeping the energy is going towards recovery and internal processes. 

However, it’s not only about eating a few hours before sleep. The foods that you choose for that last meal of the day do matter. So what foods should you focus on? 

foods improve sleep quality

Fatty fish 

Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and trout have great health benefits, they are rich in vitamin D and are a fantastic source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish has anti-inflammatory properties and is filled with antioxidants. 

Vitamin D is a contributing factor when it comes to sleep quality, and it’s also known to influence the production of serotonin, which can help you fall asleep faster and increase the quality of sleep. 

Turkey

Turkey is a great source of lean protein, providing about 8 gram of protein per ounce (28 grams) of meat. It is also filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals, like riboflavin and phosphorus, as well as selenium. 

Turkey has an amino acid, called tryptophan, that helps increase melatonin production in the body. So it is not unusual to feel tired and sleepy after having a meal that has turkey in it. 

Nuts in general possess a lot of health benefits, so making sure you include some of these into your diet as well as add them to that last meal of the day will be beneficial in more ways than one. 

Almonds

Almonds have many health benefits. They are a great source of phosphorus and riboflavin, as well as manganese. Having almonds regularly can help you reduce risk of some chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They are filled with antioxidants and can reduce inflammation. 

While research on almonds effects on sleep is limited, they do contain melatonin, that aids in regulating your natural sleep cycle. Having as little as 1 ounce or 28 grams of a serving with your last meal is enough. 

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice is a fantastic source of vitamins and nutrients. It is rich in magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It is also a great source of antioxidants like anthocyanins and flavonols.

The sleep improvements are tied to high amounts of melatonin in the juice. While it still needs additional research, a study showed that drinking 8 ounces (240ml) of juice two times a day for a period of two weeks added about 48 minutes of extra sleep per night as well as improved the quality of sleep, when compared to the other group. 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea has a lot of health benefits that go beyond improving sleep. It is an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation in the system and prevent the risks of cancer and heart disease. Regular consumption of this tea boosts your immune system and can even improve skin health. 

When it comes to sleep, antioxidants in the tea help improve sleep quality and even make you fall asleep faster, as a 2011 study discovered. This tea is a great bedtime drink that will help you drift off. 

Kiwis

Kiwis are a great low calorie fruit that’s filled with nutrients! With only 42 calories in each fruit, it provides 71% of daily need for vitamin C. It is also rich in vitamin K, providing 23% of daily needs to men and 31% to women. Kiwis are great for digestive health, they are antioxidant rich, so they have the ability to lower inflammation and cholesterol levels.

A 4-week study was conducted where one group of 24 adult ate two kiwis within an hour of going to bed, and another group didn’t have anything. The group that would have kiwis before bed showed a 42% increase in the ability to fall asleep quicker than the second group. They also witnessed an increase of 13% in total sleep time and %% improvement when it came to sleeping through the night without waking up.