6 Dinners Scientifically Proven to Help You Get a Better Night's Sleep

You’re going on your fifth night in a row of a crummy night’s sleep and you’re fed up (and tired). Instead of taking another melatonin capsule, try eating one of these six dinners, all of which utilize ingredients that are scientifically proven to give you a better night’s sleep.

The Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

Walnut-crusted Lemon Chicken Piccata

A 2003 study at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that eating walnuts naturally increases the levels of melatonin in the bloodstream. (Melatonin, of course, is a sleep hormone that helps regulate your internal body clock.) Toss in some zoodles and capers and we’re sold.

Albacore Tuna Bowls

Tuna and other fish like salmon and halibut are good sources of vitamin B6, which the body needs in order to produce melatonin and serotonin. Per a study at the University of Helsinki, vitamin B6, ingested either alone or in combination with zinc, increased plasma melatonin. This ultra-nourishing bowl will definitely do the trick.

Honey Lemon Chicken And Broccoli Bowls

A study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Journal compared the effects of honey with a cough medicine on the sleep quality of children with upper respiratory infections. Honey, which allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily, measured significantly better in terms of improving sleep quality. Plus, it tastes pretty darn great.

Kale And Turkey Sausage Sauté With Parmesan

Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and mustard greens are great sources of magnesium. And great news: according to this study from the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, magnesium improved subjective measures of insomnia like sleep efficiency, sleep time and early morning awakening. Seriously, is there anything kale can’t do?

Sunflower Seed, Kale And Cherry Salad With Savory Granola

A 2012 study at Northumbria University’s School of Life Sciences found that tart cherries increase melatonin levels, which might help increase the duration and quality of the sleep you get every night. Note that maraschino cherries will not produce a similar effect. (So that hot fudge sundae isn’t going to guarantee a better night’s sleep, sorry.)

Greek Turkey Burgers With Tzatziki Sauce

You’re probably thinking we chose this recipe because of the turkey (and all those stories about the tryptophan in turkey making you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner). But that whole thing is kind of a myth: Turkey does contain tryptophan but in similar levels to other animal proteins. This recipe should aid in a good night’s sleep because of the sauce. Tzatziki contains Greek yogurt, which, like cheese and milk, is a great source of calcium. A study in the International Journal of Biomedical Sciences concluded that disturbances in sleep are sometimes related to a calcium deficiency, adding another pro to this delicious and healthy meal.

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...