6 Foods That Help Fight Insomnia

Patient Expert
View as:|
1 of 6


Fish, such as salmon, tuna, cod and halibut have a plentiful supply of vitamin B6. This important vitamin is needed by the body to make melatonin. This is a hormone that is triggered in the body by darkness and it induces sleep.


Almonds, walnuts, and pistachio nuts can help promote sleep. Almonds contain magnesium. When your body is low on magnesium, it is harder for your body to stay asleep. This mineral promotes sleep and muscle relaxation. Walnuts contain melatonin, and offer a good supply of L-tryptophan. This is an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin – a chemical necessary to maintain a proper sleep cycle.

Bananas and cherries

Bananas are known sources for potassium. Like magnesium, potassium helps the muscles to relax. In addition to being rich in potassium, bananas also offer a good supply of Vitamin B6 and magnesium. Cherries are laced with L-tryptophan and they also boost the body's melatonin supply. Eating raw cherries or drinking cherry juice can promote more sleep.

Dairy products

Most people know that dairy products are a good source of calcium. What most people don't know is that if your body is low in calcium you may have trouble falling sleep. Calcium reduces stress and it stabilizes nerve fibers, even those in the brain. Dairy products also contain L-tryptophan. When choosing dairy products, avoid chocolate flavored varieties as they can contain caffeine.

Turkey, chicken and elk

Many people have experienced the lazy, sleepy feeling after eating a turkey dinner. This feeling is brought on by the L-tryptophan in the turkey. Chicken also contains this amino acid. Many people are surprised to learn that elk contains almost twice the amount of L-tryptophan than turkey.

Oatmeal and whole grain cereals

If you are looking for a late-night snack that won't keep you up, a good option is oatmeal and whole-grain cereals. These are rich in magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals, plus you get the calcium from the milk that is added to it. Eating complex carbohydrates also works to increase the amount of L-tryptophan in the blood.