Foods That Help You Sleep


There seems to be a sleep crisis in our culture these days, or rather a “lack-of-sleep” crisis. Our busy, non-stop lives means we aren’t hitting the hay as much as we should. And when we do, our minds race with worries from the day. Research shows more than one-third of all Americans don’t get the recommended amount of sleep (at least 7 hours per night). But getting enough sleep is critical to your health. It helps with metabolism, immunity, memory, cognitive function, reaction times, and so much more. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep at night, you may want to try increasing your serotonin levels. Serotonin, often referred to as the "good mood" hormone, can help us feel happier and more balanced because it promotes relaxation, restful sleep, and a sense of well-being. One nutritional way to increase serotonin levels is to eat foods that are high in tryptophan. This essential amino acid is found in:

  • Turkey
  • Cottage cheese
  • Salmon
  • Oatmeal (oats)
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs

That’s why one of my favorite tricks to stop late-night munching in its tracks is to have 4 oz of sliced turkey. If you’re hungry, it will fill you up, plus you’ll get that tryptophan boost.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes for “Feel Good Meatloaf”. In addition to tasting great, it contains a healthy amount of tryptophan.


  • 1 ½ pound ground turkey (90% lean) 
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice 
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 2 egg whites 
  • ¼ cup chopped onions 
  • ½ tsp. oregano 
  • ½ tsp. salt 
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper 

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ground turkey, tomato juice, tomato paste, rolled oats, egg whites, onion, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Coat a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and press the mixture into pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until meat thermometer at center reads 175 degrees.

Calories: 158 | Fat: 7.8g | Carbs: 5.3mg | Protein:16.8g | Sodium: 326mg

Heather Bauer, RD CDN
Heather Bauer, RD CDN


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.