Cherries Best One study—albeit a small one—found that drinking tart cherry juice resulted in small improvements in sleep duration and quality in adults who suffered from chronic insomnia. (And travelers often take melatonin capsules to combat jet lag). Why not a few cherries, tart or otherwise, to promote sleep?
Bacon Cheeseburger Worst The stratospheric fat content of this particular fast food is guaranteed to be a sleep killer. Fat stimulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can spill up into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Fatty foods can also loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, making it even easier for acid to get in all the wrong places.
Milk Best You may have fond memories of your mother or grandmother making you a glass of warm milk to help you fall asleep. This may not be just an old wives’ tale. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin. Although the topic is a controversial one, some people believe that tryptophan and serotonin might make it easier to sleep. Or maybe a simple glass of milk brings back soothing childhood.
Wine Worst Alcohol of any kind is “terrible” for sleep. Why? It metabolizes quickly in your system and causes you to wake up multiple times during the night. One study found that a glass of bourbon or vodka mixed with caffeine-free soda at bedtime increased the amount of time women spent awake during the night by 15 minutes. It also reduced nightly sleep time by 19 minutes and diminished quality of sleep.
Jasmine Rice Best Jasmine rice ranks high on the glycemic index, meaning the body digests it slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream. A 2007 study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that consuming jasmine rice four hours before bedtime cut the amount of time it took to fall asleep in half when compared with eating a high-glycemic-index meal at the same time interval.
Coffee Worst Coffee contains caffeine, which is a central nervous stimulant. Translation: Drinking Java too close to bedtime will keep you up at night.
Fortified Cereal Best Carbs in general are good for sleep but it’s not a great idea to binge on a box of cookies before bedtime (or anytime). Instead, try a bowl of Kashi or shredded wheat which contain “good” or complex carbs. Even better, cereal goes well with milk which has its own sleep-promoting qualities.
Dark Chocolate Worst Chocolate contains not only calories, but caffeine, especially dark chocolate. A 1.55-ounce Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, for instance, contains about 12 milligrams of caffeine, or the same amount as three cups of decaffeinated coffee.
Bananas Best Bananas help promote sleep because they contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. They’re also carbs which will help make you sleepy as well. In fact, bananas are a win-win situation in general. They’re overall health promoters. We need potassium for cardiovascular health and cognitive functioning.
Red Bull Worst Yup, the culprit here again is caffeine, and it’s present in spades. An eight-ounce Red Bull energy drink contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine or equivalent to a one-ounce Starbucks espresso. Five-Hour Energy packs 200 milligrams of caffeine into just two ounces, which means you might as well be imbibing 16 ounces of regular coffee.