Whether it’s a jolt after a cup of coffee or drowsiness after Thanksgiving dinner, most people have personally experienced how food and drinks can affect their energy and alertness.
With as many as 35% of American adults suffering from symptoms of insomnia, it’s understandable that there’s a strong desire to take advantage of food and drinks for better sleep.
Both diet and sleep are complex, which means there’s no silver bullet or single food that is guaranteed to help with sleep. However, there are some foods and drinks that may make it easier to get a great night’s sleep.
Specific Foods That Can Affect Sleep
Researchers, including nutritionists and sleep experts, have conducted different types of studies to try to discover the best foods for sleep. While this research provides important clues, it’s not conclusive. In general, there’s a lack of direct evidence about specific foods that are good for sleep.
In addition, the range of varieties of cultivars of most foods means that their nutrient profile can be inconsistent. For example, some varieties of red grapes1 have high levels of melatonin while others have virtually none. Climate and growing conditions may further alter the nutrients in any particular food product.
That said, there are indications that certain foods can make you sleepy or promote better sleep. Sometimes this is based on a particular research study and in other cases on the underlying nutritional components of the food or drink2
Dietary choices affect more than just energy and sleepiness; they can play a major role in things like weight, cardiovascular health, and blood sugar levels just to name a few. For that reason, it’s best to consult with a doctor or dietician before making significant changes to your daily diet. Doing so helps ensure that your food choices support not just your sleep but all of your other health priorities as well.