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6 Foods That’ll Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep


The stress of the holidays might be making you tired but simultaneously be keeping you up at night. Here, we outline six of our favorite foods that will help you catch those precious z’s.

Cinnamon prevents hunger pangs.

Middle-of-the-night blood-sugar dips can lead to powerful hunger pangs, which double your risk of restless sleep and early morning wake-ups. A tasty Rx: Sprinkle meals with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon daily. According to Yale University researchers, this sweet spice improves insulin sensitivity, carb absorption and blood-glucose control, reducing your odds of sleep-disrupting blood-sugar dips by 40 percent.

Edamame halts hot flashes.

Bothersome overnight temperature spikes make it difficult for more than 33 percent of women over age 40 to catch a solid night’s sleep. But there’s great news from Canadian investigators: Nibbling on 1 cup of edamame every day has the power to lessen your chances of sleep-disrupting hot flashes and night sweats by as much as 66 percent. Turns out, these baby soybeans, which taste a little like green peas, are packed with gentle plant estrogens that fortify the temperature control center of your brain.

Bell peppers stop early wake-ups.

If worries about your to-do list are jolting you awake before dawn, eating 1 cup of bell peppers daily can help you get 60 more minutes of sleep, Italian scientists say. The vitamin C in peppers soothes the adrenal glands so seasonal busyness doesn’t cause early morning stress hormone spikes.

Beer quiets an overactive brain.

If your brain refuses to shut down at bedtime, sipping an evening beer (regular or nonalcoholic) could help you drift off 50 percent faster, plus sleep 27 percent more deeply all night long, Spanish researchers say. The credit goes to hops, beer compounds that heighten the production of a relaxing, anxiety-ending brain chemical called GABA.

Avocado blocks pain hormones.

Aches and pains triple your risk of restless sleep, but savoring one medium avocado a day can curb even chronic pain flares by 59 percent. That, say University of Connecticut investigators, is because this creamy fruit contains a compound (oleic acid) that blocks your body’s production of pain-triggering hormones called prostaglandins.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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