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5 Foods That Make You Sleepy

Let’s be honest, 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year for most, if not all of us. Some of us feel tired, some have trouble getting quality shut-eye, or some even go through a bit of both. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. So, whether you are looking to avoid foods that can make you feel groggy, or rather foods that can help you get better sleep, here are 5 foods that can help you feel a bit more sleepy. 


Thanksgiving dinner


Ever wonder why the big turkey dinner lands you almost asleep on the couch? Essentially, it’s because we typically overeat when it comes to holidays like Thanksgiving. Overeating two, maybe three plates of stuffing, veggies, mashed potatoes, and turkey means our digestion system takes way longer to process all the foods we’re eating, thus using more body and brain energy. While yes, the tryptophan in turkey is a well-known sleep inducer, you can bet that Thanksgiving sleepiness is more closely associated with stuffing ourselves. Nothing wrong with that though!




Cherries are packed with melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycle. The extra dose of melatonin signals your brain that it might be time to go to sleep, which obviously isn’t a great signal for midday activities. If you’re a late-night snacker, cherries are a good go-to.


Leafy greens


Vegetables such as kale, mustard greens, and lettuce have sedative properties to encourage more sleep. While all are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, these leafy greens can help with people who struggle with insomnia. Not always a bad idea to eat sleep-including foods. 




Milk and accompanying dairy products like yogurt, paneer, and cheese are filled with tryptophan, an amino acid that consists of both serotonin and melatonin. Similar to turkey, milk products encourage our bodies to relax and better help our sleep quality. 


White rice


Calling all the rice lovers! White rice has a high glycemic index (GI) because it has less fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants compared to brown rice. Some studies have shown that foods with high GI’s may help improve sleep quality. One study found that people who ate rice over noodles and bread had better and longer sleep. Looks like white rice isn’t all that bad after all.

Depending on if you need to be alert or need more sleep, this is a great list of foods either to avoid or incorporate into your diet. For those who have trouble getting enough sleep AND staying awake, time optimization is key in getting your sleep and wake cycle in order.