Foods That Will Literally Put You To Sleep

You don’t have to make the same old boring dinner every night to get you in the mood for bedtime. In fact, if it’s more restful sleep you’re after, you can switch up mealtime and enjoy some delicious foods.

Certain dinner ingredients can actually trigger a sleep response (and you’ll likely dream of these delicious meals all night). That being said, here are five dinner foods that will high five your taste buds while helping you get into rest mode…


Yes, this delicious crustacean is listed by Reader’s Digest as one of the best dinner foods to relax with. The key to sleep with lobster (and shrimp) is the tryptophan content, an amino acid that’s found in different concentrations and in all foods with protein.

Tryptophan is associated with serotonin, a feel-good hormone released by the brain. Tryptophan actually helps produce serotonin, which can lead to feelings of calmness and relaxation (not enough serotonin can lead to depression).


Another delicious meal pulled from the water, salmon also has the ability to make your eyelids a bit heavier. While you’ll be getting vitamins that are associated with producing energy, the key sleep-inducing vitamin is B6.

According to, Vitamin B6 is responsible for producing melatonin, your body’s natural sleep hormone usually triggered by darkness. So if you’re looking to catch some sleep, cast your line towards some fresh salmon.


If you’re looking to up your game, why not try Elk (see what we did there)? Elk is considered venison (deer meat), and has a relatively mild taste. The elk fats are also high in essential Omega-3 fatty acids, which help brain, heart, and digestive functions.

But back to the sleep benefits; elk has about twice the tryptophan content of turkey, which is traditionally known as the holiday bird that puts you to sleep. The carbohydrate content of elk also helps the tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier that keeps out foreign substances.

Swiss Chard

Leafy green vegetables that you can include in your dinner salad or stir fry are said to help you sleep, thanks to calcium content. Reader’s Digest points out that calcium is key in helping your brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin, and you already know how both of these can lull you to sleep.

Reader’s Digest mentions kale specifically for having lots of calcium, but it doesn’t discount other leafy greens including spinach, mustard greens, and of course, Swiss Chard. So don’t skip that salad next time you sit down at the dinner table. Or load some green goodness into your burger, casserole, or sandwich.


Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention turkey again, which has earned a reputation of putting countless holiday revelers to sleep over the years. However, you should know that the jury is still out on how much turkey actually influences your bedtime, despite its reputation.

Good Housekeeping magazine mentions that some experts don’t believe turkey actually makes you sleepy, despite the tryptophan content. The culprit that causes you to feel like dozing off after Thanksgiving dinner is likely the large size of the meal, according to some professionals.  

Jeff Hayward

Jeff Hayward

Jeff has more than 15 years of experience writing professionally about health, travel and the arts among other subjects. He continuously looks to improve his own overall health through exercise, diet and mindfulness. He is also a proud stay-at-home dad that loves taking photographs both professionally and as a hobby.