A Diet For Better Sleep

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

A Diet For Better Sleep

People who suffer from insomnia know that it can be very difficult to carry out their day after a bad night’s sleep. It is hard to live with insomnia because a lack of sleep affects your mind, body, and emotions. This prevents you from doing what you need to be able to do to carry out your daily responsibilities.

It is hard to live with insomnia, but one major way to help improve your sleep is making modifications to your diet. Here is a list of dietary do’s and don’ts that will aid in a better night’s sleep.

Don’t eat:

  1. Dairy. For many people dairy can actually make sleeping more difficult. Dairy is difficult to digest, causing the body to have to work harder than it has to with other foods. This trend is particularly found in adults, age 25 and up. Cutting out dairy will help your body fall into a resting state faster. If cutting out dairy is not possible, make sure your last dairy product is at least 4 hours before bedtime.
  2. Alcohol. Consuming alcohol before is catastrophic for sleep. Many people think alcohol can help because it makes you fall asleep faster. However, the depressive factors in alcohol cause your body and brain to have to re-stabilize, preventing it from reaching a deep resting state.
  3. Sugar gives a boost of energy, which is the opposite of what you need before bed. Be sure to have your last sugary snack at least 4 hours before bed.
  4. Caffeine. We all know that caffeine gives an energy boost. Those with sleep issues often also have a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverage to stay awake during their day. Research has found that more than one cup of coffee per day can have a negative impact on the quality of sleep. It may be tough, but make sure to limit your caffeine to 1-2 cups per day. There will be an adjustment period, but you will see results after a few weeks.


You should eat:

  1. Herbal tea. Herbal teas like rooibos tea and chamomile tea are great for aiding sleep. They do not have caffeine, aid in digestion and warm the stomach, creating a sensation of comfort and calm. This helps the drinker relax and fall asleep faster.
  2. Complex carbs. Incorporate some complex carbs into your diet. Foods like whole grain pasta and jasmine rice have been found to help you fall asleep faster because they are easier to digest.
  3. Foods with vitamin-B. Foods like fish, pork, grains, soy, and red meats all have a high dose of vitamin-B, which aids in the production of melatonin, a hormone that aids in falling and staying asleep.
  4. Almonds Research suggests that almonds help the muscles and heart relax, causing the body to relax faster and more deeply. This improves your quality of sleep.


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