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A Diet to Help Insomnia

Updated on April 11, 2010

Want to check out of the Motel Insomnia ......

Photo courtesy of d_vdm
Photo courtesy of d_vdm

...and check in to the Hotel Good Sleep

Photo courtesy of Redvers
Photo courtesy of Redvers

5 Stages of Sleep


I expect that most people don’t know what they are eating or drinking or what they aren’t drinking or eating may be causing their insomnia, so apart from the common sense approach to diet which we all know about what else we can do.  We need to ensure we have adequate supplies of calcium, magnesium and B-complex vitamins.  We also need L-tryptophan as this helps our bodies produce serotonin and melatonin which we also need to help relax our brains and improve our sleep


We need to ensure that we have sufficient calcium in our diets as our nervous system needs an adequate supply of calcium to function effectively.  A lack of calcium has been linked with increased tension and problems with sleeping and this is why drinking a glass of warm milk just before bedtime helps us get and stay asleep.  So apart from milk and dairy products we can ensure an adequate supply of calcium by eating canned sardines or salmons (including the bones), any type of beans, greens, spinach and kale, almonds, dried fruit and figs.


Magnesium works with calcium to help our nervous systems work and we can get magnesium from fish, any type of beans, spinach, almonds, dried apricots, brown rice, buckwheat flour and bulgar wheat

B-complex Vitamins

The B-complex vitamins are also needed to have a properly functioning nervous system and these vitamins are present in lots of foods.  This means that providing you are eating a good variety of other whole foods together with those recommended to provide an adequate supply of calcium, magnesium and L-tryptophan you will be getting adequate quantities of these vitamins.  Vitamin B6 plays an important part in the synthesis of serotonin can be found in carrots, cheese, fish, lentils and peas.


L-tryptophan is an amino acid which helps produce two important substances which are important to ensure we have an adequate night’s sleep – serotonin and melatonin.  Foods which are rich in L-tryptophan are turkey, chicken, milk and dairy products, almonds, bulgar wheat, fish, eggs and any types of beans and brown rice.

When you have been reading the types of food that are high in the elements needed I’m sure that you have noticed that many of the foods are high in two, three or even all four of the lists I’ve provided.


Melatonin is produced in our bodies by our pineal gland but foods containing reasonable levels of this substance are , oats, cherries, sweet corn and rice.


In the research I carried out for this article I failed to find any food which was mentioned as containing serotonin so ensuring that you get sufficient quantities of L-trytophan is a necessity.


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    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Thanks KKG - You might find my other hubs on insomnia to be of interest too.


    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Well researched, well written article. I have a problem with insomnia. I hadn't thought about diet as an underlying cause. Great hub.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Hi katie

      Thanks for your comment. So many people don't make the connection between what they eat and how they sleep. Using your diet to help insomnia is such an easy step to take.


    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Sleep is so important and vital for a good life packed with fun and enjoyment now what goes better with that than a diet to help you sleep tight and avoid Insomnia. Great tips, facts and advice on Insomnia the diet to fight it!

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hello Barry

      Thank you for taking the time to read the series. I found the area of insomnia and sleep extremely interesting.


    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I enjoy reading your insomnia series...

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi gramarye

      Thanks for taking the time to read this hub and comment.


    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 8 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Amber, great hub with good information.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Thank you for your kind comments.


    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 8 years ago from USA

      Amber this is another great hub with information we need. Very useful.

      Thank you

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi BKC

      Your encouraging comments are very much appreciated and being bookmarked by you means a lot to me.



    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      There is always a safe and healthy way to do it all. We just need a good hubber to put it all together in one well-written place.

      Thanks so much!


    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub.


    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 8 years ago

      Good work--well-researched and nicely done. Love your honesty about serotonin too..:)

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi Tattoguy

      The pictures took a while to find so I'm pleased that they have been appreciated. Thanks for your support.


    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Dear Mr Nice

      Thank you for leaving such kind comments. It really is very encouraging.


    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi Maita

      Sorry I missed this comment. I'm pleased you liked the photos and I do hope that people will find it useful. Thanks for visiting.


    • profile image

      TattoGuy 8 years ago

      Loved the intro to this hub Amber, really well thought out and a nice lil hub to follow it, you go girl ; )

    • Mr Nice profile image

      Mr Nice 8 years ago from North America

      Hi Amber Allen,

      This is an excellent and well researched hub, anyone following these suggestions can sleep very well tonight. Thanks for sharing the info. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      nice images there Amber and well, Calcium, Ill take note of that one, I am happy you made this hub as it is helpful to most people, Maita

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi Pamela

      I'm so pleased that you have found the hub useful. If you have underlying health problems you do need to take extra care with self diagnosis and treatment of any problems and I would recommend a discussion with your doctor. I hope that you are able to find something to help you sleep better very soon.


    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Thanks for commenting Don. Our lives are getting more stressful everyday and if we can't sleep it just cranks up the pressure even further. I think you just have to keep trying until you find what works for you. Cheers.


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      This is a great hub for me as I have a problem with insomnia due mostly to health problems but I will look at my diet to see if that is contributing to the problem. Thanks.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 8 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      This is very good. This is making me think: my life is far more stressful now than in the past. I don't think I've changed my diet . . . but I do fall asleep fairly well. May be other variables. I like your explanations on the calcium, etc. I've never liked milk so I'll stay with the herbal tea!


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