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  • Writer's picturePortland Chocolate Laboratory

Does Dark Chocolate Help You Sleep Better?

Restless night? Have you been tossing and turning at night constantly frustrated about why you’re not sleeping well?

You realize you’ve been indulging in a few pieces of chocolate before bed and you’re thinking maybe that’s to blame?

A sleepless night can lead to a lack of concentration, motivation, irritability, and more. No one wants that. You’re looking for a way to end the tossing and turning once and for all.

In this post, we’re discussing the benefits of dark chocolate, how it affects your sleep—and whether you should indulge in that piece of chocolate or skip it before bed.

Table of Contents

  • Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

  • Does Dark Chocolate Help You Sleep?

  • Dark Chocolate and Sleep: Will It Help or Hurt Your Night’s Rest?

  • Can Caffeine in Chocolate Keep You Awake?

  • Theobromine In Dark Chocolate and Its Effects on Your Sleep

  • The Science Behind How Dark Chocolate May Promote A Better Night’s Sleep

  • If Chocolate Isn’t Causing My Poor Sleep, What Is?

  • How Portland Chocolate Laboratory Can Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep

  • Sleep Butter

  • Dream Chocolate

Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

Chocolate has been used to maintain health since the 1500s. Aside from its delightful taste, dark chocolate contains a number of antioxidants and nutrients that can benefit your overall health, some of these include:

  • Fiber

  • Iron

  • Magnesium

  • Manganese

  • Potassium

  • Methylxanthines

  • Polyphenols

  • Flavonoids

...and more.

Just how beneficial is eating dark chocolate to your life? Studies show it has multiple positive effects on your body.

Heart Health

In fact, one study from the Journal of American Heart Association found that dark chocolate and cocoa may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

Chocolate contains nutrients and antioxidants, like flavonoids, stearic acids, and polyphenols, that are said to reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol, lowering your risk for heart disease and strokes.

Plus, the cocoa in dark chocolate contains antioxidants that help your blood vessels relax, lowering blood pressure and helping blood circulation.

Balanced Blood Sugar Levels

Yes, you read that right, dark chocolate may positively impact your blood sugar.

Wait, what? Chocolate can help balance blood sugar levels? How?

The antioxidant-rich food helps the body use insulin more efficiently—controlling blood sugar levels naturally and decreases insulin resistance.

Improved Brain Function

The benefits don’t stop there, though. In 2017, a study found that flavonols, like those found in dark chocolate, may benefit brain function. Consuming dark chocolate in moderation may:

Dark Chocolate and Sleep: Will It Help or Hurt Your Night’s Rest?

We can clearly see how eating dark chocolate is beneficial to your health, but does dark chocolate help you sleep?

The results are a little skewed, but unless you are particularly sensitive to a few of the ingredients in dark chocolate—that we’ll discuss later—the answer is:

Eating a small amount of dark chocolate before bed shouldn’t cause any sleep disturbances. In fact, it may help you relax.

The Science Behind Dark Chocolate and Relaxation

Indulging in a piece of chocolate may instantly cause you to relax, simply because you like the taste—but did you know that the science behind some of the ingredients in dark chocolate may actually be the reason you’re feeling so relaxed?

Dark chocolate is made up of a number of natural ingredients that are known to promote relaxation, but not necessarily help you sleep.


Chocolate contains a chemical called tryptophan, the same chemical in the brain that is used to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Tryptophans also raise melatonin levels in your body—melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleepiness.


Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is known to:

  • Improve moods

  • Enhance sleep

  • And reduce the sensation of pain.

Have you ever felt more relaxed after eating a piece of dark chocolate? That may be because dark chocolate—which contains tryptophan— raises serotonin levels in your brain.


Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium. In fact, in one ounce of dark chocolate, there is 64 mg of magnesium—one small piece of chocolate contains almost a fifth of the recommended amount of magnesium per day.

Although magnesium is helpful in several ways like…

  • Combating migraines

  • Reducing inflammation

  • Supporting nerve and muscle function

  • Supporting energy production

  • And aides a peaceful night's sleep.

… magnesium is a key mineral that aids your sleep by helping your muscles relax, acts as a sedative, and guides the sleep-wake cycles in your body by helping regulate melatonin production.

Even the smallest magnesium deficiency may lead to trouble sleeping.

Can Caffeine In Chocolate Keep You Awake?

Although dark chocolate contains several ingredients and minerals that help relax your body and prepare you for sleep—dark chocolate does have a few ingredients that are said to disrupt sleep.

Caffeine is one of those ingredients. A one-ounce serving of dark chocolate contains between 5 to 20 mg of caffeine. One cup of coffee contains roughly 80 to 155 mg of caffeine.

If you have a sensitivity to caffeine—dark chocolate might be the reason for your sleep disturbances.

Theobromine And Sleep Disruptions

Another ingredient found in chocolate is a methylxanthine that is very similar to caffeine called theobromine. Theobromine is found in the cacao plant.

Although theobromine may be used...

  • As an anti-inflammatory

  • To Improve cognitive function

  • As a mood enhancer is also known to cause restlessness and a rapid heart rate.

Therefore, dark chocolate—which has a higher theobromine content than other chocolates—may not be ideal before bed.

Cacao vs Cocoa

We’re letting you in on a little secret when it comes to purchasing chocolate: always look for chocolate made with cacao, not cocoa.

Here’s why:

Cocoa, which is found in many chocolates is very similar to cacao, except it has a much higher sugar and dairy content. The added sugars may play a large role in sleep disturbances.

Cacao, on the other hand, has many health benefits—it contains many essential fats and antioxidants that protect your heart and fight diseases.

If Chocolate Isn’t Causing My Poor Sleep, What Is?

You’ve never been much of a chocolate eater—at least not at night—but you’re getting a poor night’s rest and you’re ready for answers.

After a few Google searches, you’re left wondering:

What is causing my poor night’s sleep? Does dark chocolate help you sleep?

Your poor night’s sleep could have a lot to do with:

  • Lack of proper nutrition

  • Stress or anxiety

  • Sleep Apnea

  • Lack of exercise

  • Depression

  • Poor sleep habits

  • Etc.

Stress and Sleep Disturbances

One of the most common causes of sleep disturbances is stress.

Your body produces a number of hormones that can promote a good night’s sleep, but it also produces hormones that may negatively impact it as well.

What hormone are we referring to?


Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone. It’s the hormone that is “fight-or-flight” mode.

Cortisol is also responsible for:

  • Regulating blood pressure

  • Balancing blood sugar

  • Regulating energy levels

  • Helping to control the sleep-wake cycle.

If your cortisol levels are too high or are elevated too often it can cause a number of other problems, like:

  • Chronic illnesses

  • Weight problems

  • Fatigue

  • Brain fog

  • Sleep problems

  • Mood disorders—depression and anxiety

Physical Activity and Sleep Disturbances

You likely already understand the importance of exercising regularly for your health, but did you know that exercise also plays a role in how you sleep?

Studies show that ramping up your physical activity to at least thirty minutes a day improves sleep quality.

This doesn’t have to be strenuous exercises, exercises like…

  • Yoga

  • Strength Training

  • Aerobics

  • Etc.

… can all lead to higher quality sleep.

A lack of physical activity may be the reason you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling as though you aren’t well-rested after a night’s sleep.

At Portland Chocolate Laboratory we take the quality of life very seriously and know the importance of a good night’s sleep.

We also understand that sensitivities to the ingredients in chocolate may be what is causing your sleeplessness.

That’s why we’ve created a solution—say goodbye to restless nights.

How Portland Chocolate Laboratory Can Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep

If you’re concerned that you aren’t getting enough sleep or the quality of sleep you’re getting is lacking—Portland Chocolate laboratory can help.

Our specially crafted products contain a blend of herbs and spices designed to treat you to the best sleep of your life.

Sleep Butter

Over-the-counter sleep aids are often a “no-go” for many people. And we get why.

No one wants to deal with the side effects that often accompany those medicines.

If you’re tired of tossing and turning or waking up all throughout the night, we’ve got a product for you.

Sleep butter was created in 2018 after numerous requests from our customers who wanted to experience the type of deep sleep they experienced with our Dream Chocolates.

Sleep butter’s unique mix of herbs and spice include...

  • Ashwagandha

  • Kava

  • Valerian root

  • And more

...that will help you fall and stay asleep throughout the night.

Although we’re a chocolate-based company, our sleep butter is made from cashew butter in order to avoid the effects that the ingredients in chocolate may have on our customers' sleep.

Do Cashews Promote Better Sleep

Cashews are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, but they also contain vitamin B6—which aids in the production of melatonin.

The combination of these ingredients in cashews boosts serotonin and melatonin levels.

Our blend of cashew butter and sleep-inducing herbs will have you on your way to a peaceful night's slumber.

Dream Chocolate

Are you someone who wakes up wishing you could remember what you dreamt about the night before? Maybe you’re a vivid dreamer, but are looking to better understand your dreams?

Portland Chocolate Laboratory offers a three-night self-guided dream workshop in a box. If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about your dreams or being able to take control of your dreams—this is the product for you.

Our dream chocolate boxes contain three chocolates, each infused with a different mix of herbs, to enhance your dream experience.

Our dream box comes with a dream journal and dream tools to take your understanding of your dreams to the next level.

Ready to get started? Click here to place your order today!

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