Does popcorn make you sleep better?

Yes weird I know! But I swear everytime I have a bowl of popcorn before bed, not only do I fall asleep faster, but I sleep longer through the night. It usually takes me a half hour to fall asleep, and then I usually wake up twice during the night. When I eat a bowl of popcorn I usually wake up only once or sometimes not at all. I’m thinking of making it a regular thing because it seems to work so well for me.

Is this crazy talk or not? Is there something in popcorn or the buttersalt I put on that would help me sleep better?

Is it true only for popcorn, or any food?

Because when I expect not to be able to fall asleep easily, I often eat before going to bed, as I noted it seemed to help.

That’s interesting - I usually feel bloaty and uncomfortable. But I’m betting that’s because I like mine salty and buttery and I rarely eat either type of food. Anyway, back to you - is there something you typically do while eating popcorn, i.e., read, watch a movie? Or do you normally eat it at a particular time? There are some foods I only allow myself after a workout, for example, so I’m wondering if it might have something to do with a behavior you engage in as you’re eating. Or it could just be the popcorn. The body is a strange thing.

In the book Potatoes not Prozac, the author makes the point that serotonin is produced while sleeping and may be one of the major reasons for sleep. He goes on to say that it is produced from Tryptophan which we get from meat (famous for getting it from turkey, but it is in most protein based food.) Lastly he says that we need carbs to process Tryptophan and says that we should eat popcorn or other similar carb foods just before going to bed.

Having a full stomach, while having a low calorie content may satisfy and not produce energy and may help sleep. Also the salt may reduce the tendency of any urge to pee making it more comfortable and less likely to wake you up.

If I cannot sleep (which does not happen often) I usually get up and eat popcorn, rice cookies, pretzels or crackers. This helps me to sleep. My own theory is that eating something crunchy helps me to sublimate my real desire which is to crunch gleefully on the bones of my enemies.

Or maybe it just loosens up my jaw, which I tend to clench under stress. But I prefer the former notion all things considered.

Seriously last night I tried having a bowl of popcorn and then straight to bed. I slept great! No reading or anything else before hand. In fact I was grooving to some tunes right before that.

Other foods don’t help me as much, but I think they do help somewhat. Junk food though rarely helps me sleep.

Sounds like we need a test! I will give this a try tonight and let you know how it goes.

Perhaps other dopers would also like to try this and report their findings. If it works as well as I hope it will I will have some popcorn every night before bed to help with the insomnia. Delicious cures for insomnia are the best kind!

I had popcorn tonight! But it was around 7:30-8 p.m. And I watched a scary movie. Those may cancel each other out.

I’ve never noticed a link between popcorn and sleep, but I’m a pretty good sleeper.

Anecdotally, no, popcorn sure as hell doesn’t make me sleep any better. No sir, many’s the time when I was in the dorms in university that I’d be woken up at 3:00 in the morning by a fire alarm and full building evacuation, invariably caused by some idiot leaving popcorn in the microwave for twenty or thirty minutes until it burst into flames, wreathing the halls with an acrid smoke and the foul, shameful stench of immolated corn. :mad:

Er, sorry, carry on… :smiley:

Okay, I did a test run last night of our popcorn-cures-insomnia theory. I made a bowl of popcorn about an hour before bed (no butter, light nacho cheese seasoning…yum!) and then finished up my business and hopped under the covers. Survey says:

That was the best I’ve slept in weeks. I didn’t wake up at all during the night even though I normally wake up around 3 and then again around 5:30. I fell asleep without tossing and turning for an hour and a half, which is my usual pattern. I am going to try this again tonight to see if this was just a coincidence. If this works and the solution to my problem sleeping is both cheap and tasty I will be the happiest person that has ever walked the planet!

Hi, I believe it does. The proceding post is correct about the book Potatoes & Prozac. A little history about me. I have a sleep disorder resultant from a very serious previous concussion. Now days called traumatic brain injury (TBI). Most patients with TBI history will develop migraines & sleep disorders. They are related. TBI pts. do not produce enough seratonin (needed for sleep, too) in their brains, as a result of the damage sustained. A lack of seratonin has been linked to depression, of course, but also to migraines, & sleep disorders. I combat the lack of seratonin through exercise, rather than the traditional route of antidepressants. I hurt myself a while back and gained a little weight from not being able to move around & burn calories. I have been losing the weight well, and decided to cut down on my carbs (what was I thinking!?) for a while. I did lose weight, but after about a week and a half of that, I suddenly started only sleeping 3-4 hours a night, would wake up for about 2 hours in the middle of the night unable to return to sleep, and then sleep another 2 hours (sometimes on that latter sleep). I was averaging 3-5 hours sleep a night & I need 9! I almost got killed in a wreck yesterday from my brain not working right from the lack of sleep. I told family & friends I have got to get some sleep & googled up “Does popcorn make you sleep?” and found this board. I then realized that I had been eating healthy popcorn almost daily, because we own a popcorn machine for business (pop with sea salt, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and the popcorn). Well, I slept 4 hours, I did wake up, took a melatonin & triptophan supplement, and went right back to sleep instead of waking up for 2-4 hours. It was pretty continual sleep. I got a total of 7, which I can function on, but I really do need 9. I ate the popcorn at night about 1.5 hours before bed. I usually consume it between 3-4PM, so I am guessing my body has had time to digest it, and the triptophan has been sent to my brain by then. BUT, that is the best sleep I have had in a week and a half. I ate only 1 bag (like the kind they have at the circus). I usually eat 2 bags, but cut back b/c of not wanting the calories so close to bed. I’m going to eat 2 bags back to my old time from 3-4 PM and see what happens. I am wondering if it needs to be a cumulative effect or what. Will post more as I see on this experiment. Great idea for dissertation! Oh, almost forgot, was taking the triptophan & melatonin supplements when also having the insomia. Would take when woke up in middle of night. Between the 2, I should have been falling back to sleep, not lying awake for 2-4 hours.

Yes, according to Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., and co-arthur of the book The Seratonin Diet

Researchers found that snacking on 3 cups of unbuttered popcorn 30 minutes before going to bed helped people drift off to sleep 54% faster than usual.

Found this on the net. Did not say what “researchers”, where they are, or how they conducted their research. Nice to know.

Other interesting links I found. There is a good article & video on foods that make you sleep at

Also found a great article on the foods at

Key is to eat lightly salted, and not add the fats such as butter. I was using olive oil b/c it is an anti-inflammatory to help with some swelling I was having. As for the microwave kind, the inner lining of the bag leeks carcinogens right into the food. Microwave popcorn is becomming out of vogue for that reason. People don’t want to eat toxic waste.

That, and a lot of people have discovered that it’s much cheaper to buy a bag of popcorn and a package of lunch bags to do the same thing sans chemicals. It works great, but unlike the instructions here I’ve never bothered with adding oil.

Seems to me it could be a number of factors. One, content: popcorn is a high-carb food, which spikes your energy levels initially, but then drops sharply, leaving you feeling groggy/sleepy. Two, activity: as mentioned upthread, popcorn takes a lot of chewing, so you could unwittingly be working out any frustrations the day held. Three, habit: any sleep expert (just about) will tell you that following a specific bedtime routine will help you get to sleep faster, and sleep more deeply, than not having a routine. So if your brain gets accustomed to associating eating popcorn and going to bed, then that’s a bedtime routine.

Bottom line, though, is this: if it’s working for you, keep doing it. There are worse ways to get to sleep than noshing popcorn!

Weirdly, I posted in this thread after coincidentally eating popcorn last year. And last night I ate popcorn as an evening snack, then went to bed at nine p.m. Slept well.