Chocolate and Sleep: Separating Fact from Fiction

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When it comes to sleep, a good night’s rest is paramount. Not only does it allow your body to recover from the stresses of everyday life, but sleeping well can also reduce stress and improve memory, concentration and learning capacity.

Not only this, but sleep has a positive impact on weight management, disease prevention and performance at work. Unfortunately, as many of us are aware, getting enough sleep is not always easy for everyone. Fortunately for those who struggle with getting enough shut-eye, there are plenty of foods (and drinks) that can help you get more restful nights.

And one such food is chocolate—a natural source of magnesium and tryptophan that can have a positive effect on your sleep if eaten before bedtime. Let’s take a look at how…

How Does Chocolate Help You Sleep?

Chocolate is a natural source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that has been shown to have a positive effect on sleep. When tryptophan is consumed, it is metabolized in the body and turns into serotonin—a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep.

As serotonin is also involved in regulating sleep cycles, eating a source of tryptophan can help you sleep better by promoting relaxation and increasing serotonin levels. And research has shown that chocolate is a good source of tryptophan—a 100-gram bar containing nearly 600mg of the amino acid. But there is more to chocolate’s sleep-inducing properties than just tryptophan.

A magnesium deficiency can also cause sleep issues, including restless sleep, sleepwalking and insomnia. Luckily, eating a few dark chocolate bars a day can bring this mineral level back up to normal. In fact, 100g of dark chocolate contains about 50% of your daily magnesium requirement—more than any other food.

Magnesium In Chocolate

One of the most important nutrients for sound sleep is magnesium. Magnesium helps regulate healthy sleep cycles by acting as a natural muscle relaxant. It also has a positive effect on mood and mental health in general, so it may help reduce anxiety and promote a feeling of calm.

The recommended intake for magnesium for adults (19-30 years) is 400 milligrams per day. Although many people consume far less than this, only 8% of adults actually meet the recommended daily intake for magnesium. As such, it is important to include plenty of magnesium-rich foods in your diet to make sure you get enough of this vital mineral.

Ghru, Milk and Dark Chocolates: Good Sources of Tryptophan

One of the key chemicals responsible for inducing sleep is serotonin, which is made from tryptophan. This means that if you eat foods rich in tryptophan, you can help boost your serotonin levels. Ghru, milk and dark chocolates are, therefore, all great sources of tryptophan.

And although it’s recommended that you don’t eat large quantities of these foods, a small amount of dark chocolate, coupled with a glass of milk, is an excellent pre-sleep snack.

Other Food Sources of Magnesium and Tryptophan Aside from Ghru and milk, other natural sources of tryptophan include cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, oats, yogurt and avocados.

Magnesium, on the other hand, is present in many foods, including almonds, cashews, oats, banana, beans, broccoli, dark chocolate and milk.

More Tips For A Restful Sleep

Try to limit your caffeine intake to avoid sleep issues, as it can stimulate the nervous system. Caffeine is also a diuretic and can lead to dehydration, so be sure to drink plenty of water before bed. Similarly, alcohol can be disruptive to your sleep, so try to avoid drinking alcohol too close to bedtime. Keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible to aid your sleep.

Make sure to block out any light that may come in from outside and consider using earplugs if there are any noises that are keeping you up. Ensure that you have a relaxing pre-sleep routine to help ease you into sleep. This can be as simple as having a warm bath, reading a book or meditating.

The Catch: Sleep is a Tool, Not an End Goal

While eating certain foods can help you sleep better, getting enough sleep is still just one part of a healthy lifestyle. Eating well, exercising and managing your stress levels can also have a significant impact on your sleep quality. Because sleep is a tool, and not an end goal in itself, it can be used as a way to maximize your health and nutrition.

Sleep allows your body to rest, repair and reset itself by allowing your brain to release growth hormone, which repairs and builds muscle, breaks down fat and repairs your skin. Therefore, getting enough sleep can help you reach your health, fitness and nutrition goals in a number of ways. It can improve your mood by helping you manage stress, boost your metabolism and aid weight loss.

It can also reduce your risk of disease and improve your performance at work. Finally, getting enough sleep can also reduce your risk of injuries, meaning that you can use your newfound energy and focus to achieve great things.


Chocolate can help you sleep by increasing serotonin levels and promoting relaxing feelings. It also contains magnesium, which is an essential mineral for restful nights.

Eating a few dark chocolate bars a day can help you get a better night’s sleep and improve your overall health and well-being. If you struggle to get enough sleep, try eating a small chocolate bar before bedtime.

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