how healthy eating can help you sleep

How Healthy Eating Can Help You Sleep Better

Last Updated on December 30, 2023 by Candi Randolph

If you’ve been wondering how healthy eating can help you sleep better, I have some great news for you. It can! And, if you’re anything like me, sleep seems to elude me more often as I age.

Nutrition isn’t just important to your diet and fitness. It can also make a huge impact on your sleep, and, ultimately, your overall health. Actually, healthy sleeping habits are one of the ways that we keep our metabolism strong as we get older.

In fact, your choice at the kitchen table can either boost sleep quality, helping you wake bright-eyed and ready for the new day, or leave you tossing and turning all night. Here are some of the different ways that your food choices can help or hinder your quality of rest.

Fall Asleep Faster

eat oatmeal to fall asleep faster
  • Eat oatmeal: Certain foods, like oats, contain melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. Supplementing your diet with additional levels of melatonin can help you feel sleepy at a consistent time, easing the transition to bedtime. Snacking on a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal with fruit can help shorten the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and get in the hours you need.
  • Avoid chocolate: In comparison, stimulants in candy like dark chocolate can prevent your body from shutting down completely. In fact, the average dark chocolate candy bar contains almost as much caffeine as coffee. For better sleep, enjoy your chocolatey treats at least two hours before bedtime.

Improve Sleep Quality

eat some kiwi to improve sleep
  • Eat kiwi: Kiwi contain serotonin, a hormone that is linked to REM, or deep sleep. It’s during this sleep stage that the brain develops, and your muscles rebuild. Multiple REM cycles are required for your sleep to be productive and for your morning to be fatigue-free. Try a few slices of kiwi at night to ease your transition into REM sleep and get more restorative rest.
  • Avoid wine: Although alcohol may make you fall asleep quickly, it can severely inhibit your ability to reach deep sleep. A glass likely won’t cause too much of an effect but drinking heavily before bed can lower your sleep quality and leave you feeling tired the next day.

Lengthen Sleep Duration

eat salmon for dinner to lengthen sleep duration
  • Eat salmon: Fatty fish like salmon are great sources of filling protein, as well as melatonin. In one 100 mg. serving of salmon, there is 20 g. of protein, nearly half of the recommended daily intake. It’s this protein that can keep you full throughout the night and prevent you from waking up hungry for a midnight snack.
  • Avoid cheeseburgers: Although heavy in protein, the high grease and fat content in a cheeseburger can increase stomach acid and sleep-disruptive heartburn. Instead, consider a turkey burger with veggies for a longer, more productive night’s sleep.
soaker tub for a relaxing bath before bed time

If you still have issues getting better sleep, no worries!

There are a lot of other ways to improve your rest. Investing in better pillows, or even a luxury mattress can help you find enough comfort to sleep through the night. Alternatively, a hot nighttime bath can calm anxiety and lower your heart rate, helping you move into sleep easily.

Try to incorporate some of these suggestions into your daily routine for improved health and overall well being!

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How Healthy Eating Can Help You Sleep Better. Yes, it really can! Find out how some simple tweaks to your eating (and evening snacking) habits can help you get a better nights sleep. #healthyliving #sleepbetter #healthyeating

14 thoughts on “How Healthy Eating Can Help You Sleep Better”

  1. This is really excellent information. Thanks for the great tip about oatmeal at bedtime – I wonder if that is why I always get sleepy when I eat it in the morning ? 😉

    Your posts are always wonderful and unusual. Keep them coming!

  2. Hi Candi, thanks for the tips and I was especially interested to read about the effect of chocolate and also wine. My husband and I have been alcohol free now for 8.5 months so that isn’t an issue. I do have trouble sleeping longer than 6 hours but perhaps that is all my body needs? I would love you to post this article as a Wellness Wednesday tip on the Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond – Let’s Thrive! Facebook Group. Have a beautiful week. xx

    1. Thanks Sue, as always, for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. I would love to post on the Facebook Group for Wellness Wednesday and will do that right now!

  3. Very informative. From the sounds of it, I think I need to totally switch out my diet to sleep well, haha. Or at least not eat those things too close to bedtime. Though I do enjoy foods like oatmeal and kiwi, so it wouldn’t be too much a challenge to do so.

    1. I know I need to make a few changes too, Sarah, to make sure my evening snacks won’t interfere with my beauty sleep 🙂

    1. Thanks Holly, I hope they are effective for you. It’s so frustrating when we can’t get a good night of sleep.

  4. Oops… I tend to eat chocolate at night before bed and recently have had trouble sleeping – even with some medication so I probably should cut that out! Thanks for the tip.

    1. Eat that snack a bit earlier in the evening and hopefully you’ll sleep well! Thanks for stopping in, Deborah, I appreciate the visit.

  5. I can imagine that certain foods would interfere with your sleep. I used to find spicy foods or creamy sauces would give me awful heartburn, that prevented me from sleeping properly. I notice you didn’t mention the glass of warm milk before bed time. Is that an old wive’s tale? I find eating lightly for my evening meal also helps me sleep better. #TeamLovinLife

    1. Hi Kathy, it seems that the reviews are mixed as to whether the warm milk really helps. But I say, if it does the trick for someone, they should go for it! I agree with eating a bit lighter for the evening meal, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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