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Nutrition and sleeping; Which foods help you sleep better?

Florian Fermin
Florian Fermin

Adequate sleep is something that is very important, just like good nutrition. For example, sufficient sleep helps to stay healthy, to keep your resistance up to standard and sleep also ensures that your energy management continues to work properly. Yet many people sleep poorly. If this happens one night, that is not a problem, but if you sleep badly for a long period in a row, a sleeping problem can arise. This can have unpleasant consequences. For example, a sleep problem lead to concentration problems, mood swings, fatigue, blurred vision, irritability, reduced resistance and / or headache. In this blog I will first explain something about the sleep cycle, and then I will tell you something about which foods help you sleep better.

The sleep cycle

Sleep consists of a sleep cycle, which your body goes through 4 to 5 times in a night. A sleep cycle consists of 5 phases and you can then distinguish again into two kinds of sleep; namely non-REM sleep and REM sleep. The non-REM sleeps are the first 4 phases of the sleep cycle. The REM sleep is the last phase of the sleep cycle.

The first phase is the sleep phase: this is the moment when we doze off and we are between being awake and sleeping. This is the phase in which we still hear everything, and if someone calls you during this time, we will still consciously respond.

The second phase is light sleep: this is the phase in which you no longer wake up from every sound. You are already asleep, so you don't wake up just like that anymore, but you are not sleeping deeply yet.

The third phase is actually a transition phase to deep sleep. Here all our muscles relax, the heart rate drops and we end up in our deep sleep.

The fourth stage is deep sleep. This is the phase that ensures physical rest and recovery of the body. In this phase, various substances are produced that contribute to the recovery of the body, but growth hormone, for example, is also produced in this phase.

The fifth and final stage is dream sleep, also known as REM sleep. REM also stands for Rapid Eye Movement since the eyes make very rapid movements during this phase. It is the phase in which the brain is very active and our body is processing information from that day. During this phase, part of your memories from that day are stored in long-term memory. This phase is necessary for your body to fully recover.


Nutrition plays a major role in the sleep process. For example, it is generally known that the intake of caffeine makes it harder to fall asleep. So make sure you have your last cup of coffee at 4 p.m. Because of this, coffee is seen as a sleep stealer. Fortunately, there is also food that helps you fall asleep better, in other words sleep inducers. Nutrition is a 100% natural option to solve insomnia and therefore a solution for many people. But what kind of food actually helps you fall asleep? Below I will mention a number of food products that you can best eat or drink before going to sleep.

1. Sour cherries

Sour cherries, also known as called cherries are a natural source of melatonin. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. This cycle tells your body when it's time to go to sleep and when it's time to get up. To sleep better, it is recommended to eat a handful of sour cherries half an hour before bedtime or to drink a glass of sour cherry juice.

2. Milk

The old-fashioned glass of milk is a good example of food that helps you fall asleep better. Milk not only contains a lot of protein, but also melatonin and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is not produced by your body. Because of this you have to eat enough food that contains tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the body to produce melatonin.

To upgrade your milk a little bit, you can add a spoonful of honey. Honey is a carbohydrate, and together with the protein from milk, it ensures that you fall asleep even faster.

3. Honey

If you don't like milk right now, two tablespoons of honey also work to help you relax before going to sleep. Take this one hour before you go to sleep. Honey produces tryptophan in the brain. This can be converted into serotonin, which in turn is a neurotransmitter that helps your body relax.

4. Nuts and seeds

Raw, unsalted nutsen seeds are a source of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that helps relax your muscles. When you don't get enough magnesium, your muscles can't relax enough, so you fall asleep less quickly. That's why it's good to eat a handful of nuts before going to sleep. The most magnesium-rich nuts and seeds are: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and linseed.

5. Bananas

Bananas are rich in magnesium, but they are also a source of potassium. Studies have shown that there is a connection between potassium and the depth of your sleep. When you get more potassium, you will end up in a deeper sleep. In addition, bananas are also rich in tryptophan.

In addition to nutrition, there are of course many more options to improve your sleep. Your sleep is not only dependent on your diet, but also on the rest of your lifestyle. Are you now curious about more tips to fall asleep better, download here our e-book with tips for a better night's sleep.