Can our daily diet affect our sleep? Science says yes.
Research tells us that the foods we eat can have a direct connection to our sleep — including sleep/wake cycles, sleep efficiency, and even stress.
But how, exactly? The chemical make-up of certain nutrients, amino acids, enzymes, and hormones can trigger restful reactions in our minds and bodies, while others can wire us up.
This specially designed sleep-supporting meal plan includes six recipes: one breakfast, two lunches, one dinner, a snack, and a soothing bedtime drink. All of them focus on sleep superstars such as oats, dairy, fatty fish, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins. Each meal features an important nutritional element, from the “sleep hormone” melatonin to minerals such as magnesium and potassium.
Incorporating these delicious recipes into your daily diet can help you regulate sleep and reap all the bedtime benefits these foods have to offer.
Ingredient list for your meal plan
Coconut kiwi overnight oat parfaits
Overnight oats are the perfect make-ahead breakfast. Not only are they nutrient rich and easy to prepare, the coconut and kiwi flavors will let you take a trip to the tropics without leaving your own kitchen. Made with coconut-infused overnight oats, orange yogurt, and kiwis, these parfaits contain 9g of fiber and 15.5g of protein per serving.
Oats are an excellent source of melatonin, while dairy such as Greek yogurt contains tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D, and melatonin — all shown to support sleep quality. Antioxidant-rich kiwi contains vitamin C and serotonin-producing compounds that have been shown to improve sleep efficiency.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup light coconut milk, plus more as needed
- 2 Tsp. honey
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ Tsp. grated orange zest
- 1 Tbsp. orange juice
- ¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 2 kiwis, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
1. In a medium-large bowl, mix oats, coconut milk, honey, and a pinch of salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next morning, remove the mixture from the refrigerator and add more coconut milk , if needed, until a desired, spoonable consistency is reached. Divide oats between two mason jars or glasses.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, orange zest, and orange juice.
4. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of shredded coconut across each oat mixture before topping with orange yogurt in even layers
5. Finish the parfaits with chopped kiwis, slivered almonds, and remaining coconut shreds. Enjoy!
Sweet potato turkey chili
Sweet potato turkey chili is a nutritious, hearty meal that’s perfect for either lunch or dinner. It tastes even better as leftovers, making it a great option for your weekly meal prep.
Lean meats such as turkey are excellent sources of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin and melatonin, two vital factors in sleep cycles and mood. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium while kidney beans make this chili loaded with fiber, which is shown to support restorative sleep.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 Tsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tsp. paprika
- ½ Tsp. dried oregano
- 1 28-oz. can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken bone broth
- 1 medium Hannah sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 15-oz. can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Greek yogurt, lime, shredded cheddar, and/or brown rice, for serving
1. Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot. Once hot, add diced onions, carrots, and bell pepper. Sauté vegetables until softened and onions until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
2. Add remaining olive oil and ground turkey. Crumble and cook the turkey until it’s no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, another 2-3 minutes.
4. Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until very fragrant.
5. Pour in tomatoes and chicken bone broth. Stir until completely combined. Bring the chili to a simmer, then stir in sweet potatoes and kidney beans.
6. Cook over a medium simmer until potatoes are tender and flavors have melded, about 35-40 minutes.
7. Serve over brown rice, if desired. Top with your desired amount of Greek yogurt, lime juice, and shredded cheddar. Enjoy!
Mediterranean tuna salad
Sad desk lunches, move aside. This Mediterranean tuna salad is full of flavor and is anything but boring. This salad is inspired by the Mediterranean diet, which is shown to improve sleep quality, reduce sleep disturbances, and aid in stress reduction.
Tuna is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy sleep cycles, decrease inflammation, and increase serotonin production. Leafy greens and lettuce contain relaxation-promoting lactucarium while almonds are an excellent source of magnesium, shown to improve insomnia and reduce inflammation.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ Tsp. dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 cup diced roasted red peppers
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 Tbsp. capers
- ½ cup sliced kalamata olives
- 2 5-oz. cans albacore tuna
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
- Romaine or butter lettuce, for serving
1. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper in a mason jar or bowl. Shake or whisk thoroughly until combined and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, toss together diced cucumber, roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, capers, and kalamata olives.
3. Gently fold in tuna, feta, and fresh basil. Give the dressing another shake/whisk and pour over the salad. Mix everything together until combined.
4. Serve tuna salad over lettuce and top with a tbsp. of toasted slivered almonds for crunch. Enjoy!
Walnut pesto salmon
Fatty fish, such as salmon, is excellent for sleep. One study showed that men who ate Atlantic salmon three times a week for 6 months experienced a positive impact on sleep quality and daily functioning. This could be thanks to the high levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish.
Walnuts, found in this nutty pesto, are a great source of melatonin. Serve this salmon on a bed of quinoa, which is rich in sleep-supporting magnesium and tryptophan.
- 4 6-oz. salmon fillets
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for cooking
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 4 Tsp. lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Whole grains, for serving
- Vegetables, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place salmon skin-side down on a baking tray and scatter tomatoes around the fish. Drizzle salmon fillets and tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Bake until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 12-15 minutes depending on thickness.
3. While the salmon is cooking, blend walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor until finely processed. Add basil leaves and process until paste-like, then mix in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. With the processor running, slowly add in ¼ cup of olive oil until pesto is fully combined.
4. Spoon the pesto mixture over warm salmon and serve immediately with your favorite whole grains, like quinoa, and/or vegetables. Enjoy!
Almond butter banana bites
Get sleep support and a tasty, two-bite snack with these almond butter banana bites. Potassium-rich banana combines with oats, almond butter, walnuts, and coconut. These bites are sweetened with honey, which helps the brain to produce melatonin.
- 1 medium banana
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups oats
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for rolling
- ¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1. In a large bowl, mash the banana. Once thoroughly mashed, stir in almond butter, honey, and salt until combined.
2. Stir in oats, coconut, and walnuts until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate mixture for 1-2 hours, then roll into 12 balls.
3. Roll each bite in shredded coconut. Keep refrigerated and enjoy!
Cherry chamomile moon milk
Cozy up with a warm cup of moon milk before bed. This vegan-friendly nighttime beverage features lavender-chamomile tea, which contains antioxidants that attach to GABA receptors in the brain to provide sedative-producing qualities.
Tart cherry juice contains above-average concentrations of melatonin (in addition to antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium). One study found that adults suffering from insomnia who drank tart cherry juice slept longer and reported improved sleep quality.
- 1 chamomile-lavender tea bag
- 4 oz. boiling water
- 4 oz. tart cherry juice
- 2 Tsp. honey
- 8 oz. oat or almond milk
1. Place the tea bag in a 16-oz. or larger mug. Pour boiling water over the herbs and steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag.
2. Heat cherry juice, honey, and milk to a simmer. Remove and pour over the prepared tea. Top with additional frothed milk, if desired.
From breakfast to dinner, you now have the dish on some of our favorite recipes for a diet built around sleep. Whether you make just one or try them all, regularly consuming these foods can help support your natural sleep cycle.
And, these nutritious recipes taste amazing, to boot.
Craving even more sleep-friendly fare? Check out our favorite foods for sleep (and which ones to avoid).