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Eat to Sleep

Eat, Sleep, Live Well

At one point or another most of us will suffer periods where we cannot get to sleep, no doubt you will have tried and tested tips for such times like taking a hot bath, camomile tea, keeping a room cool, keeping a room dark, having a break from TV and electronics before bedtime etc.

But sometimes these things may not be enough, and you will experience a bout of insomnia. Well the next time this happens, it may be worthwhile taking a different approach to your diet – to see if what you eat and drink can impact how you sleep…

Warm Milk

This one you probably know, but a lot of people do not like the thought of warm milk, but the same effect can be achieved by consuming other dairy products. It is actually the calcium present that helps make melatonin which is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. You can get the same benefit by consuming dark green leafy veg like kale or spinach, so it is worth having this with your evening meal to start the wind-down process.


You might think of porridge as only a breakfast item, but consuming oats as a bedtime snack could work, just like above oatmeal contains melatonin but also eating oats raises your blood insulin level which helps get you into a tired state.

Almonds, Pistachio or Walnuts

Almonds contain magnesium which helps us to stay asleep, pistachios contain B6, which helps in the process of making melatonin and serotonin which we can see above is essential to feeling sleepy. Walnuts have a sleep-inducing quality as they contain an amino acid called tryptophan.


Carbs that are consumed within four hours of you going to sleep are likely to assist you in feeling tired, but Jasmine rice is particularly good as it has a high glycaemic rating.


Kiwifruit is known to create a more restful sleep – falling asleep and waking should also be easier. Cherries also help to create restfulness and are rich in melatonin. Bananas have both B6 and magnesium giving you combined benefits as detailed above.


There is a hormone called ‘acid orexin’ which prevents the body from becoming tired. Consuming honey actually sends a signal to your body to stop production of this hormone.


As mentioned above camomile tea is fairly well known as a sleep aid, but you could also try passion fruit, lavender or spearmint, all of which act on the nervous system to tell your body you are sleepy. You could also try brewing two herbs together – Valerian and Lemon Balm, these are known to reduce sleep problems and are often the ingredients found in herbal sleep remedies.

Here’s to a happy slumber…

Ref: Holland & Barrett