French Cuisine Ingredients That Promote Sleep & Relaxation

We were at dinner with friends the other evening and, as it was getting late, the topic of sleep came up.

Mainly we were discussing the things that prevented us from sleeping well.

For a few of us cognac gave us heart palpitations which, in turn, kept us up all night.

For others it was coffee – as I refused the cognac but thoroughly enjoyed the espresso.

And chocolates.

Strange, no one seemed to have a problem with chocolate.

Here is some good information and foods the can help sleep, rather than those that hinder it….

French Cuisine Ingredients That Promote Sleep & Relaxation

Researchers have confirmed that the foods and beverages that you consume prior to bed can positively or negatively impact your sleep quality. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salty snacks, and heavy meals that are eaten a few hours before bed can disrupt your evening rest and relaxation. While there are many foods to avoid, there are many more foods that can help you to sleep better (when consumed regularly). In addition to being beneficial for your overall health, explore three common French cuisine ingredients that can promote sleep and relaxation.

Fish high in Omega-3s

On top of having the proper sleeping environment, experts at recommend eating a diet that supports healthy sleep habits. One of the best French foods to achieve this goal are various kinds of fish that are high in omega-3s. This especially includes salmon. Recent research conducted at the University of Oxford (UK) found that omega-3s may be able to help individuals achieve better sleep. Other studies have also found that “diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids are linked to better-quality sleep, in both adults and children.” While more research is needed, the current body of evidence is promising. You can use fish that are high in omega-3s in French dishes such as salmon rillettes, or grilled tuna with provençal vegetables. If you are looking for a specific recipe to follow, use one of my favorites:

Sesame-Crusted Salmon

Total time: 20 minutes


  • 2 salmon fillets or steaks, 12oz total weight (360gr total)
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame or walnut oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger



  • Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and brown sugar in a small bowl, whisking until sugar and ginger are dissolved.  
  • Put salmon on a baking sheet with a lip.  Divide soy mixture and spoon over salmon, coating evenly. 
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each filet, pressing them in lightly. 
  • Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 15 – 17 minutes, depending on thickness.  Salmon will be done when it flakes easily, slightly pink in the center is fine.  The sesame coated top should be a golden brown when done.  Remove and serve.

French cheese

France has long been known for its commitment to producing world-class cheeses. From reblochon, to brie, to camembert, there is no shortage of exceptional varieties. Thankfully, moderate cheese consumption has also been linked to better sleep quality. This is mostly because cheese contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that has been linked to a reduction in stress levels. It has also been shown to promote restful sleep. Additionally, it is thought that the calcium found in cheese helps the body use tryptophan in a way that produces more melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that rises in the evening to encourage sleep, and decreases in the morning hours. To further boost the sleep and relaxation inducing properties of cheese, pair with hearty crackers.

Dark chocolate

Although dark chocolate does contain a bit of caffeine, the benefits often outweigh this fact. This delicious treat has been shown to help the body relax, and to promote sleep. Because it contains serotonin (a neurotransmitter that is linked to feelings of relaxation), consuming a little a few hours before bed can be quite beneficial. Dark chocolate can also be used in a number of French dishes, including the always tasty chocolate soufflé. It is important to note that while dark chocolate carries with it these benefits, milk chocolate does not. In fact, milk chocolate can actually disrupt your sleep, as it also contains caffeine but no serotonin.

Food can be used for much more than just nutrition and enjoyment. When looking to calm stress and achieve better rest, you can use specific foods to help you reach your goal. In addition to the foods listed above, there are many other ingredients that are commonly used in French cuisine that are beneficial.

Last update on April 23, 2019

6 thoughts on “French Cuisine Ingredients That Promote Sleep & Relaxation”

  1. Well, there it is. Proof that I need to spend even more money on cheese. Science suggests that I sleep well. Ma femme can continue her dark chocolate habit as science also supports that for good sleep.

  2. And here I was thinking of searching your archives for a good salmon recipe to cook for my wife tomorrow night. You’ve marvelous timing! Merci bien!

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