Five Foods That Help With Sleep


Via Flickr

A picture of one of the most commonly eaten foods that help with sleep, cherries.

In middle school and high school years especially, teens will often have to stay up late or have a hard time falling asleep. School work, sports, and personal issues can all become a factor for not being able to sleep. Whatever the reason may be for not being able to sleep, it can affect a teen’s lifestyle drastically. However, there are foods that can help with sleep and are still enjoyable to eat anyway.


Fresh and freeze dried cherries can help with falling asleep. This is because they are one of the only sources of melatonin, a chemical that controls the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep. However, not all cherries are effective in causing people to fall asleep. Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., shows research that tart cherries rather than sweet or maraschino cherries can be more effective in helping people rest at night. It is best recommended to eat cherries an hour before bedtime or a long drive/plane ride for effective results.

Warm Milk

Although it might sound silly, this drink really does help the body to fall asleep. Milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases serotonin, a compound found in the blood platelets and acts as a neurotransmitter. Additionally, milk contains a high amount of calcium which also promotes sleep. Although cold or warm milk can help the body to fall asleep, warm milk has proven to be more effective. According to Somer, “Anything warm raises the body temperature, and that naturally makes you feel sleepy…It’s like an internal bubble bath.” Warm milk has proven to be effective in helping with falling asleep,  so next time mom says to give warm milk a try, do it!


Bananas are a great breakfast food and snack, but they also serve another purpose. They are a good source of potassium and magnesium which help to relax the body’s muscles. Additionally they contain amounts of the amino acid L-tryptophan which gets converted to 5-HTP and later to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter). A tasty fruit and an effective food in helping people to fall asleep, bananas are a two-in-one deal!

Chamomile Tea

Another hot liquid, tea, produces essentially the same effect as warm milk. Tea  in general is a very calming drink and it can help with sleepiness. Additionally, the lack of caffeine in chamomile tea is beneficial because it won’t wake people up mid-slumber. However, chamomile tea isn’t the only tea that can help with falling asleep. Any herbal or decaffeinated tea can help with relaxation and sleeping.

Whole-Wheat Foods

Whole-wheat foods can convert tryptophan, an amino acid, into melatonin and serotonin. One example of a food containing whole-wheat would be cereal. However, it is recommended to eat the cereal without milk because the dairy can block the tryptophan from reaching the brain. Other sources of whole wheat can be found in oatmeal and bread. They can be eaten during breakfast or even as a snack throughout the day. Whole-wheat foods help to maintain energy as well as promoting sleep.

Sleep is important. It helps the body and brain to function. However, when people are having trouble with sleeping it can affect their life both emotionally and physically. That is why it’s important to get sleep every night and to eat foods that are both healthy and help with a restful night’s sleep.