Young girl sleeping in bed

The Beginner's Guide To Restful Sleep: Top Foods And Practices To Adopt Now

Sleep: it's an essential activity for everyone who desires optimal physical and mental health. Unfortunately, in today's "24/7" culture of burnout, stress, bright screens at night and unhealthy habits around bedtime routines, many of us don't get the restful sleep that our bodies need to thrive. But have no fear; there is hope! If you're in search of ways to increase your relaxation during nighttime hours and finally start getting the deep sleep you deserve (and desperately need!), then this beginner-level guide is here to help. We'll be covering some great tips on foods that can naturally promote a more relax state as well as practices like meditation, stretching and more that you can incorporate into your daily routine so that falling asleep easily (and staying asleep!) becomes a welcome reality instead of just another wishful fantasy. Ready? Let's heartily dive in!

Importance Of Sleep

Stairs to the clouds
We often overlook sleep as something that can improve physical and mental health, but sleep is incredibly important for living a happy and healthy life! Having good sleep hygiene is key to getting a quality sleep. This means going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day approximately and avoiding late nights or sleep deprivation. Additionally, having a bedtime ritual such as regularly reading before sleep can help you relax and slowly transition into sleep-mode. Adequate sleep not only helps keep our bodies healthy, but can also support and promote emotional wellbeing. So how can we support and promote healthy sleep? With a few smart steps, you can soon enjoy the many amazing benefits that sleep brings - from improved concentration to boosted mood - so grab those ZZZs and boost your wellbeing today!

The Effects Of Nutrition On Sleep

The effects of nutrition on sleep quality cannot be overstated. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can make all the difference in terms of the quality of sleep one experiences. If your nutrition is lacking, it can not only lead to difficulty sleeping, but also daytime fatigue and other problems that arise from poor sleep. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables at every meal, along with lean proteins and healthy fats, helps ensure that our bodies have the nutrition to achieve a deep and restorative night's sleep. Additionally, consuming sugary snacks, caffeinated or alcohol beverages close to bedtime can contribute to poorer quality or insufficient sleep. Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining overall health and should not be ignored when it comes to improving our sleep health.

How Your Sleep Habits Affect Your Weight

Measuring meter
Sleep is very important to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight. It has been found that melatonin, a hormone produced by the body when asleep, can also help support and promote healthy sleep as well as focus on aiding in weight loss in adults. Lack of melatonin from inadequate sleep can contribute to weight gain, so getting an adequate amount of rest each night is important to ensure you are receiving this beneficial hormone. Furthermore, proper rest makes it easier for regular exercise habits and healthy diets which can contribute to furthering weight-loss efforts. Developing good sleep habits is essential to ensure that melatonin production isn't hindered. Create a regimented bedtime routine so your body knows when it’s time for winding down, turn off all screens at least one hour before bedtime, and aim for seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night—it will make a huge difference in your health!

How Sleep Influences Hunger

A girl eating hamburger
It's no secret that sleep and health are intertwined in myriad ways. However, few people appreciate the tangible impact of sleep on control of hunger and cravings. Studies have conclusively shown that people who do not get enough sleep often find themselves craving unhealthy foods more than those who are well rested. Moreover, lack of energy brought on by inadequate sleep can mean frequently resorting to premade or fast-food solutions when low energy levels make it hard to actually prepare a healthy meal. For these reasons alone, important health decisions should begin with ensuring adequate and consistent sleep quality every night.

Foods to Help You Sleep Smarter

We've curated our top ten list of nutritious food choices that will both lull and soothe as they help maximize your sleep quality. So let's show you how easy it is to make small dietary tweaks that will ensure sweet dreams are yours every night!

Tart Cherries

Tart cherries have a long history of being used to help promote restful sleep. It is thought that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in tart cherries, such as melatonin, help improve sleep quality while increasing its duration. Studies have indicated that enjoying a serving or two of tart cherries every day can not only improve sleep but also reduce fatigue associated with jet lag and even help modestly with insomnia symptoms. While more research is needed before this can be definitively concluded, there are some reports indicating that tart cherries may be an effective natural supplement for reducing sleep problems.


Walnuts with shell
Walnuts are a great way to get the restful sleep your body needs. They contain high amounts of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate our body's sleep-wake cycle. Studies have found that consuming walnuts prior to bedtime can help you fall asleep faster as well as stay asleep longer. Additionally, they contain tryptophan, and omega-3 fatty acids - nutrients that are involved in melatonin and serotonin synthesis, both involved in regulating sleep. Furthermore, walnuts are also a great source of protein, healthy fats and antioxidants, making them an excellent snack choice before bed. So if you're looking for natural methods to get more restful sleep, try adding some walnuts into your evening meal!


Eating kiwi has many health benefits, including its ability to support and promote healthy sleep. Studies have found that eating kiwi two hours before bedtime helps improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. This health-boosting property is due to certain chemicals found in kiwi, such as serotonin and folate, which attribute to a calmer mood and help to relax your body. Additionally, kiwis are rich in antioxidants and naturally occurring oils, which help prevent chronic health issues that can disturb sleep. By incorporating this delicious fruit into your daily diet, you will be able to reap all its beneficial properties and get some restful sleep at night.

Pistachios and Almonds

Pistachios and almonds
If you're looking for a healthy snack before bed, pistachios and almonds may be the answer! Not only are they melatonin-rich foods, but they also contain selenium, zinc and magnesium which can help support your overall nutrition. Eating magnesium-rich foods has been shown to help promote restful sleep by calming your nervous system, while selenium and zinc can act as antioxidants in the body to maintain good health. Pistachios are an excellent option for a light, melatonin-rich snack that can easily fit into your nighttime routine! Just opt for raw nuts, with no salt added.


A lettuce
Get ready for the best sleep of your life with lettuce! That's right, this leafy green may be more beneficial than you might think. Lettuce contains something called lactucarium, which can make you feel sleepy. In addition, the magnesium, iron, and calcium in lettuce make it great for battling insomnia, as it helps relax muscles and calm the mind. Add a few leaves in your favorite salad recipe or snack on raw lettuce to get the optimal restful sleep you've been dreaming of! Incorporate some leafy greens into your night-time routine and say goodbye to sleepless nights forever.


A camomile tea
When nutrition is considered as a natural way to promote healthy sleep and rest, chamomile often comes up in conversation. Chamomile is known as an herbal tea with powerful properties that can support and promote healthy sleep patterns. It can be found in many forms such tea, capsules, or extract and is widely believed to help enhance sleep quality. Consuming the herb regularly can help improve sleep frequency and duration, making it easier to fall asleep faster, awaken less during the night, and wake up feeling more rested in the morning. Those struggling from insomnia should consider adding this magic herb into their diet to improve their well-being and quality of life. Chamomile is loaded with nutrition benefits that can help reduce stress levels which will provide overall better health for individuals who are having trouble sleeping.


Jar of honey
Many people struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Sleep plays a vital role in improving our overall health and wellbeing; lack of it can easily lead to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and irritable. Fortunately, honey is a natural sleep remedy that can help us more easily drift off into dreamland. Research shows that honey can induce restful sleep due to its natural ability to promote the release of melatonin in the brain. By adding a spoonful of honey before bed (or even making a hot beverage with honey), you can support your body’s natural attempt to ease into blissful slumber.


Now here is a wonderful solution for those of us who find ourselves counting sheep to no avail: passionflower tea! It is a natural sedative, perfect for lulling both the body and mind into a peaceful slumber. Who would have thought that simply by brewing up a cup of this sweet-smelling herbal tea right before hitting the hay, we could be one sipping sensation away from several blissful nights of rest? So never fret if you have difficulty getting some shut-eye--just pour yourself a tall glass of passionflower tea and start dreaming away!

Easy Practices to Promote Restful Sleep

Poor sleeping habits and lack of sleep can lead to extreme fatigue, drowsiness during the day, inability to concentrate on activities like work or school, and many other difficulties in life. However, there are solutions! We will discuss a few easy practices that can help promote restful sleep. Read on to learn more about these strategies and start taking control of your sleep today!

Avoid Caffeine

A cup that says no
Sticking to sleep hygiene can be difficult, especially with a hectic lifestyle. An important sleep habit is avoiding caffeine in the evening. Caffeine consumed up to six hours before sleep can make it much harder to experience a restful sleep, as it can stay in your system for approximately that amount of time. Taking this measure can greatly support and promote healthy sleep, allowing you to feel more rested and energized each morning when you wake up. Try reducing or eliminating intake of any caffeinated beverages or products after midday to sleep better at night.

Exercise Early in the Day

A young women exercising outside
Taking care of sleep hygiene is key to living a healthy, balanced life. Exercising in the mornings can be an effective way to support and promote healthy sleep. When we exercise early in the day, it helps us fall asleep easier since exercise releases endorphins which can leave us feeling relaxed and sleep-ready. Providing our body the physical activity it needs in the morning helps establish a circadian rhythm that is essential for restful sleep at bedtime. Additionally, if leaving adequate time for sleep between exercise and bedtime, we are more likely to feel tired as we settle into our beds making sleep more accessible throughout the night. Overall, adopting a regular exercise routine early in your day can help achieve peaceful sleep at night.

Stay Cool at Night

Getting a good night's sleep daily is essential for a healthy lifestyle, and ensuring your environment is conducive to restful slumber is key. Studies have suggested that the optimal temperature range for sleeping at night is between 16 and 20 Celsius degrees. Staying within this temperature range helps ensure a comfortable, undisturbed sleep throughout the length of the night. For individuals who want to maximize their restful sleeping experience, using a mattress or pillows with cooling properties can really help keep nighttime temperatures in check. Ultimately, staying cool at night will greatly contribute to creating the ideal environment for a successful bedtime routine, leading towards a refreshed start tomorrow morning and beyond!

Avoid Alcohol

A girl refusing a drink
Rewriting your bedtime routine in a way that promotes sleep should start by removing alcohol. A nightcap before bed may initially make you feel drowsy, but it does nothing to help your body stay asleep for the entire night. The effects of alcohol impair quality sleep at deeper stages and ultimately lead to wakefulness during those crucial hours of rest. Instead of alcohol, opt for muscle-relaxing activities like yoga or meditation to ease into slumber land. By avoiding alcohol, you'll be on the right path to getting more restorative sleep and awakening feeling refreshed each morning.

Avoid Nicotine

To support and promote healthy sleep, it is important to avoid nicotine. Nicotine is found in products such as cigarettes and it can make it difficult to fall asleep and have quality rest during the night. In addition, nicotine can make users more sensitive to caffeine, thereby increasing stimulants' effects and decreasing sleep quality. While the occasional nicotine usage may not significantly affect sleep, avoiding these substances altogether is highly recommended for those looking for restful relaxation throughout their day.

Take Naps Wisely

women. napping on coach
Taking naps is sometimes necessary to make up for sleep deprivation, but it can also have a negative impact if handled unwisely. To ensure that you are getting restful sleep and following the sleep hygiene principles, the key lies in controlling when and how long we sleep during daytime. Napping should be kept to a minimum of 15-20 minutes— any longer and it may disrupt your nighttime sleep schedule. It’s better to stick to the same nap times each day, as consistency helps maintain our body's circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. Do not take naps late in the afternoon or evening, as this could also interfere with proper sleep patterns at night time. In addition, it's important to ensure your napping environment is comfortable yet dark and quiet so you can have an undisturbed slumber from which you'll be recharged and refreshed afterward.

Reduce Blue Light Exposure At Night Time

Practicing sleep hygiene is an important step in promoting sleep health and can help to reduce blue light exposure at night time. Blue light is a type of light produced by the sun, tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices that can disrupt sleep patterns and ruin restful sleep. To reduce blue light exposure at night time, avoid using all electronics in the 1-2 hours before bedtime, as well as keeping your bedroom dark and free of any noise or disruption. Investing in some blackout curtains and/or an eye mask can also aid sleep by blocking out the early morning sunlight if you're trying to sleep in a bit longer. Try setting aside a few days of the week where electronics are not used before bed and restful sleep can occur - ready for another day!

Clear Your Head Before Bedtime

A young women meditating
In order to get restful sleep, it is important to clear your head before bedtime. This can be done in many ways such as practicing relaxation techniques, meditating, reading something calming, or journaling your thoughts to gain clarity. Relaxation techniques create a sense of contentment and awareness that will help you relax and prepare for a good night’s sleep. If you are preoccupied with work decisions or worries, try reading something calm right before bed, this can help switch off the worry genes in your brain. Lastly, journals give us an outlet to release mental tension and gives us a moment to organize our thoughts making it possible for us to have a less restless sleep experience. So remember: take time out of your nighttime routine by clearing your head before bedtime so that you can drift into dreamland peacefully.

Track Your Sleep Cycles

A women lounging and using phone
Inadequate sleep can be incredibly detrimental to your physical and mental health, which is why it's important to ensure that you get the right amount of rest. Sleep research has shown that we go through the various light/deep/REM sleep states in a fairly consistent 90-minute cycle. This 90-minute pattern is closely linked to our circadian rhythms, our inbuilt body clock that naturally determines our wakefulness and sleepiness. Ideally, you need four to six cycles of sleep every 24 hours to feel fresh and rested. App called Sleep Cycle lets you regularly track and analyze your sleep cycles, finding your perfect wake up window. It lets you to set the alarm clock in your lightest sleep phase so you wake up feeling rested. This modern technology is definitely worth giving a try in pursuit of having consistently restful nights of sleep.

Last word

You can sleep soundly and improve your health by slowly incorporating some of these foods and practices into your routine. Challenge yourself to try one new Sleep Superfood or bedtime ritual every week for the next month – your body and mind will thank you!