Food and Drinks That Help You Sleep

We all know that caffeine can give you the kick you need to get out of the front door in the morning, but is there any food and drink that can help you nod off at night? Our Big Sleep Report discovered that 39% of Brits are constantly getting a poor night’s sleep[1], so we started looking into healthy foods and drinks that can help you relax into your mattress and get a good rest every night.

Nuts and seeds; almonds, cashews & peanuts

Our Big Sleep Report showed that life and work stress was the largest contributor to individuals experiencing insomnia. While a comfortable bed is the defining factor in the quality of your sleep, drifting off in the first place is almost impossible if you cannot relax. Magnesium can help to alleviate this problem by combatting the effects of stress. It regulates hormones in your brain, helping to calm both body and mind.

You can buy magnesium supplements over the counter, but we recommend increasing your magnesium intake through your diet. Almonds, cashews, and peanuts are a good source of magnesium, and they add new textures and flavours to everyday dishes. If you would prefer to try magnesium supplements, please talk to your GP first.

Nuts are also full of tryptophan and shouldn’t over-fill you. Even better, it’s not a problem keeping them close to your bedside.

Fruit; cherries, strawberries, kiwis & bananas

Vitamin C is well-known for supporting healthy bone growth, but it is also essential to produce serotonin[2]. This is the chemical in your brain that controls mood balance, and it is believed to drastically effect your sleeping habits. So, stock up on plenty of fresh fruit if you’re having trouble sinking into your pillows. Strawberries, cherries, and kiwis are packed full of vitamin C – plus they’re a sweet and tasty alternative to sugary deserts.

Meanwhile, bananas are full of the amino acid tryptophan, and that’s a good thing. This acid transforms into serotonin, the chemical that tells the brain to relax and sleep. Even better, bananas digest slowly, which means if you eat them close to bedtime you can get a steady dose of serotonin throughout your sleep, enabling you to stay in a deep slumber.

Decaffeinated tea & coffee

According to the BBC, British people drink more than 60 billion cups of tea a year[3]. It’s so widely-consumed that it’s easy to forget about the caffeine content when you’re warming yourself up with a cup of English Breakfast Tea after work.

Black tea contains just at third of the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but that’s still plenty when you’re trying to fight the effects of sleeplessness. If you find yourself drinking brews long after you clock off, try swapping out for decaf tea or coffee to try and cut down on your evening caffeine intake.

Red rooibos tea

Experts recommend cutting out caffeine completely after lunch time, as it can overly stimulate your body going into the evening, making it difficult for your mind to wind down. Decaffeinated versions of your favourite brews are a good alternative to your usual cuppas, but they aren’t a cure-all – they still contain as much as 20mg of caffeine per cup.

For a hot and wholesome evening drink that’s entirely caffeine-free, try Red Rooibos Tea before heading off to bed. This super-drink is proven to combat insomnia, and it is packed full of natural antioxidants.

Milk & cheese

Did you ever hear the old wives’ tale that eating cheese at night can give you nightmares? We can safely put that theory to bed. Cheese is chock-full of vitamin C, so top your crackers with a low-salt cheese like cheddar, emmental or mozzarella for a desert that can help you relax into a sleepy evening rhythm. Or, treat yourself to a glass of milk before ducking under the duvet.


Just like bananas, eggs are filled with tryptophan. This is a chemical that, when eaten, transforms into serotonin and brings on sleep. You can even add some cheese to your eggs to add more calcium and replace energy during sleep.

Fish (especially salmon, tuna and halibut) all have vitamin B6 in them. This is what’s needed to make melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone that reacts to darkness. So grab a fish supper and turn those lights out!

Should I be eating before bed?

If you’re hungry before you go to sleep then you’re more likely to wake up during the night. However, eating too much means your digestive system has to work much harder, and you want to be as relaxed as possible at bedtime. The trick is to eat a light meal and eat the right foods 2-3 hours before you have a kip.

Tweak your diet to take back control of bedtime, so you can enjoy your bed the way you intended. Bensons for Beds, helping you sleep right every night.




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Bensons for Beds

Bensons for Beds are the UK's largest bed retailer with over 270 stores. For over 50 years, we have been dedicated to ensuring customers get a great night's sleep.

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