5 Christmas foods to eat for a good night’s sleep, according to experts

Sleep better this Christmas with these five festive foods

A table filled with Christmas food
(Image credit: Rumman Amin / Unsplash)

Finding it hard to sleep this festive season? Then eat these five Christmas foods for a good night’s rest. During the Christmas festivities, the last thing you’re thinking about is sleep, even if it’s on the best mattress. Instead, you’re probably considering how many roast potatoes you can eat during Christmas lunch or what chocolatey goodness you’ll snack on from your stocking between meals.

Sleep should always be prioritised, even during the holidays. Rather than napping the afternoon away or feeling groggy when you should be feeling joyful, getting a good night’s sleep leaves you feeling refreshed and energised, ready for more Christmas games and celebrations.

To find out more, I spoke to Anush Pervez, sleep expert at SleepSeeker. Pervez explained that “sleep is often reduced or heavily disrupted by all December festive activities, however to keep up your energy and health levels, it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough sleep.”

With this in mind, here are five Christmas foods to eat for a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.

1. Turkey

Christmas foods for sleep: turkey

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No, it’s not a myth: turkey can actually make you feel sleepy. Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan which acts as a natural sleep aid by increasing the body’s production of melatonin and serotonin. These hormones regulate your mood, appetite and sleep, so if you have higher levels of them, you’re more likely to feel sleepy. Pervez says that “while eating a large amount of protein before going to sleep is not recommended, in moderation, foods such as turkey can help to improve sleep quality and reduce disturbances… With turkey being a festive favourite, it’s an easy food to incorporate into your diet to help you sleep better this December.”

2. Smoked salmon

Christmas foods for sleep: salmon

(Image credit: Ruslan Khmelevsky / Pexels)

Smoked salmon is increasingly popular over the Christmas period and surprisingly, it can actually help you sleep better. Fatty fish like salmon or tuna is good at increasing your vitamin D intake. Pervez notes that “a lack of vitamin D can increase the risk of sleep disorders and difficulties sleeping so alongside making an effort to spend time outside, increasing the quantity of vitamin D-rich foods in your diet can help to improve sleep.”

3. Cranberries

Christmas foods for sleep: cranberries

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Whether you like a dollop of cranberry sauce with your turkey or cranberries dotted through your stuffing, eating cranberries in any form is good at aiding sleep. This is because “the fruit is high in vitamin C which helps improve your sleep and sleep cycle, making it the perfect food to incorporate into your diet this Christmas,” says Pervez. Cranberries are also high in antioxidants and contain melatonin which helps promote sleepiness and regulate your sleep schedule.

4. Nuts

Christmas foods for sleep: pistachios

(Image credit: Joanna Kosinska / Unsplash)

Nuts like walnuts and pistachios have many health benefits as well as being rich in vitamins, minerals and melatonin. “Due to their high levels of melatonin, eating a handful of these nuts before bed may improve your sleep quality,” recommends Pervez. Walnuts have fatty acids like omega 3 which increases the production of serotonin and makes you feel sleepy, while pistachios provide the body with magnesium and vitamin B6 which can improve how deep and restful your sleep is.

5. Honey

Christmas foods for sleep: honey

(Image credit: Roman Odintsov / Pexels)

You might not think that honey is a common Christmas food, but it can be drizzled over roasted carrots, cheese, crackers, or be added to an evening cup of tea. “Honey contains glucose which can lower the brain's orexin levels, a neuropeptide which regulates wakefulness,” says Pervez. “Adding a drop of honey to your tea is a great way to combine these two sleep-inducing ingredients.”

For more festive sleep tips, here’s how to sleep better at Christmas

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!