Should you snuggle down with a cosy cup of tea or a big bowl of porridge? If you’re wondering what food helps you sleep, this blog post has the answer.
 

Food to help you sleep

When it comes to snooze foods, a good guide is to look out for those that are high in carbohydrates or contain certain types of amino acid.

Some of the best food to eat at night include:
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan. This helps the body to make both melatonin and serotonin, two hormones that help you to relax. Certain nuts, such as walnuts, are also rich sources of melatonin in themselves. Why not use them to top off a salad or porridge?
  • Rice and potatoes: Wondering what to cook for dinner? A healthy side serving of carbohydrates such as rice or potatoes is perfect for promoting sleep. They work by helping your body to more easily access the tryptophan mentioned above.
  • Oats: They’re already a popular health food – but did you know that oats are an excellent snooze food too? As well as providing all the sleep-inducing benefits of other carbohydrates, oats are high in melatonin. Not keen on porridge? A bowl of wholegrain cereal can deliver many of the same benefits.
  • Herbal teas: If you find that the soothing sensation of a hot drink is an essential part of your bedtime routine, choose a decaffeinated option such as a herbal tea in place of tea or coffee (see below for foods to avoid).
Foods to avoid before bed

While some foods are beneficial for a better night’s sleep, others can actually disrupt your slumber – particularly when you eat them in the hours immediately before you go to bed.

Key foods to avoid include:
  • Caffeinated drinks: Drinking a warm mug of tea or coffee is a popular bedtime ritual – but unfortunately, it’s not an effective way to drift off. In addition to the stimulant effects that can keep you awake, the caffeine contained by these drinks can also trigger night sweats in some people. Steer clear of fizzy drinks before bed too as many of these also contain caffeine.
  • Alcohol: You might feel sleepy after a glass of wine or two – but that doesn’t mean that alcohol actually improves your quality of sleep. While drinking wine in the evening might help you to drift off initially, the alcohol can also cause you to overheat and experience night sweats, with the result that you wake in the night feeling clammy.
  • Spicy foods such as chilli or curry: As with alcohol and caffeine, spicy foods can trigger night sweats once you’re asleep, causing you to wake feeling hot and uncomfortable. And, as we’ve all experienced at one time or another, once you’re awake, it can be incredibly difficult to settle back into sleep again.
If you’re struggling to sleep, take a look at the list above. If any of these are part of your evening routine, try cutting them out and replacing them with food that helps you sleep – for a more restful and refreshing slumber.

Discover more sleep advice to help you get a better night’s rest.