This 7 Day Nutrition Plan Will Improve Your Sleep

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

When treating or managing insomnia, sleeping pills are a popular first or second line of defense. But instead of using pills to get to sleep,what if you could control your insomnia through the foods you ate?

While changing your diet won’t cure severe insomnia, it can help those with periodic or mild insomnia to resume abnormal sleep schedule.

By making these substitutions or adding these foods to your diet over the next seven days, you should begin to see some improvement in your insomnia symptoms.

Quit consuming caffeine and sugar

These two natural stimulants that can interfere with your normal sleep cycle. It’s also important to remember that caffeine is found in more than just coffee - often being a natural part of chocolate and some artificial sweeteners.

While sugar can be much more difficult to cut out of your diet altogether, it’s important to take steps to eliminate it as much as possible. In addition, try to avoid foods that contain sugar completely at least 3 hours before you try to fall asleep.

Eat more corn, tomatoes, and potatoes

These foods contain high levels of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate your circadian rhythm. There is some limited evidence that shows eating these foods raw can help to increase your body’s levels of this hormone, allowing you to get to sleep at night and wake up when it’s daytime.

It should be noted, of course, that if your insomnia is due to working a night shift, these foods might not help you that much.** Consume white meat**

Turkey contains tryptophan, a hormone that helps you go to sleep. This hormone is also found in chicken, milk, and even pumpkin. Adding these foods to your diet may help boost levels of the hormone and help you fall asleep faster.

Add nuts

Walnuts, peanuts, and cashews are great sources of melatonin, tryptophan, and magnesium. Nuts have more protein than most baked goods, allowing you to feel fuller (which may also help you to lose weight). They also have virtually no sugar, which eliminates a source of stimulants.

One simple way to add nuts to your diet is to use them as an after dinner snack.

Eat more cereal

(Just make sure it’s whole grain and sugar-free.)

High levels of carbohydrate intake have been associated with better sleep patterns. Researchers believe that this is due to higher levels of serotonin and melatonin found in complex carbohydrates. One study uncovered a relationship to high-glycemic -index carbs and an increase in tryptophan - the precursor to serotonin - within the blood. However, it’s important to note again that, this sleep-inducing effect will be counteracted if you choose foods with a high level of sugar, such as cakes and cookies. Stick with oatmeal and granola sweetened with honey.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.