Four Ways to Alter Your Diet to Fight Insomnia

Patient Expert
View as:|
1 of 6

If you find that the most common insomnia treatment tips aren't working for you, it may not be time to change how you sleep but how you eat. The food you eat actually has a major impact on your sleeping habits, and these tips will help you alter your diet to fight insomnia.

Eat a bedtime snack

That’s right, a bedtime snack. However, the ideal snack should be light so that it doesn’t require much digestion, and rich in carbs to boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone that induces sleep. Good examples of bedtime snacks include a glass of warm milk, porridge made with milk and bananas, pita bread with hummus, or a slice of toast with peanut butter.

Added tip

If you find that a carb-rich bedtime snack is not helping you fall asleep, you may want to try eating carb-rich dinners every day. Rice, bread, cereal, and pasta are just some of the foods you can eat for dinner in order to help induce sleep.

Watch your salt intake

For a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, keep an eye on your salt intake. A diet heavy in sodium can dehydrate you and increase blood pressure. Try to avoid eating heavily processed foods such as ready-meals and even some soups - which can contain sky-high levels of sodium. Also shift sodium intake to earlier in the day, so levels are back to normal by bedtime.

Drink plenty of water

According to many studies, the more hydrated an individual is, the more hours of sleep they tend to get. Therefore, you want to aim to drink a minimum of six glasses of water each day. If you find that your sleep is being disrupted because you have to go to the bathroom, you should avoid drinking any liquids about 3 hours before you go to bed.

Eat early

You should eat your meals early to improve your chances of sleeping well. Eat dinner at least 3 hours before you go to bed. This will optimize your melatonin and blood sugar levels for bedtime. Whenever you eat a large meal, your metabolism is stimulated. At bedtime, you want your metabolic systems to slow down rather than kick into high gear to digest a large meal.