ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Personal Health Information & Self-Help»
  • Self-Help for Sleep Issues & Sleeplessness

Foods That Help You Sleep

Updated on November 21, 2014

If you suffer from sleeping problems, e.g. too many things going on in your mind depriving you of sleep, try changing your diet. Eating the right foods at the right time can help you solve many sleep issues you may have. Enjoying good food instead of taking medication, it is definitely a healthier choice, as well as tastier way to good sleep.

Also, never be afraid of eating before sleeping, especially if you are doing sport or muscle training. Your body needs feel while you are sleep in order for your muscles to grow and develop.

One of the greatest myths is "Eating before going to bed will make you gain weight". Well many people who eat before going to sleep do tend to be over weight. The reason is because they have already eaten their three meals for the day and and eating this 4th meal puts then way past the calories intake. It has nothing to do with the timing - it's all a big myth. If you have a late lunch, e.g. 2-3 pm and then a very late dinner e.g. 9-10 pm, it is not going to make any difference. Think of your body as a machine, food is input, metabolism burns, any left over is fat regardless of the timing.

Dairy Products

Milk, cheese and dairy products in general are good sources of tryptophan, an amino acid which is a good and safe way to encourage sleep. Yogurt, milk and other calcium rich products help the brain use the tryptophan to create melatonin for aiding sleep. A lack of calcium in our daily diet can cause very common sleep disorders for many people.


Oats are a perfect ingredient not only for breakfast but also for a quiet evening. A warm cup of milk with oatmeal, in fact, is a perfect meal for those who want a nice pleasant nap. Oats are a natural source of melatonin, which is considered a valuable aid to sleep, especially when combined with milk. In addition, oatmeal is rich in calcium and magnesium, the two minerals perfect for helping you with a long sleep and feeling relaxed after waking up.

Oats are also a good ingredient for muscle growth along with protein products if your are working out.


If you suffer from muscle spasms or cramps during the night, this could be due to a deficiency of magnesium and potassium, which usually help to relax the muscles and ensure proper functionality. Bananas are an excellent source of both minerals, making them a perfect snack especially after a hard workout at the gym.

Not only are they a rich source of magnesium and potassium, but bananas also contain tryptophan, which helps sleep. Eating a banana before going to sleep is known to help those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea by holding the throat open, and thus reducing the risk of choking. It can also make very nice smoothies when mixed with other ingredients.


Similar to oats, cherries are also a natural source of melatonin, as well as being excellent for dieting. Eating tart cherries before you go to bed has been known to encourage sleep more easily and quickly. However please also be aware that the sugar content in fruit is higher than people think, don't over do it.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are great for increasing the levels of serotonin in the body and regulate sleep, thanks to the presence of magnesium, tryptophan and fatty acid Omega-3. It is the Omega-3 that helps to reduce some of the main causes of insomnia (depression, anxiety and stress), as well as being an effective remedy against sleep apnea.

you should be able to purchase them in most supermarkets and in most countries. If not try ordering them online.


Exercise helps you fall asleep faster and also into a deeper sleep. However avoid exercising right before you go to sleep as this would achieve the opposite effect. Choosing the right time for exercise may be the key to maximizing the effects on sleep.

Sleep experts advise exercise for at least 3 hours before going to bed. Furthermore, in order to sleep, the body temperature must be lower than usual. If you exercise just before bed, your body will not have enough time to reach the level needed to relax. Normally, the body takes around 6 hours to lower the temperature elevated after exercise to get back to the adequate temperature for sleep. With that in mind, you will need to carefully choose the time of day for exercise so you can enjoy a deeper sleep.

It is often said that exercise in the morning has better results and promotes better sleep in the evening.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Thanks and yes insomnia can be a serious issue for health too.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Thank you very much. for adding the link

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      Sleep is so important, and this is a useful article for people with insomnia. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great info to know. I didn't know cherries had melatonin. Thanks!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Came back to add a link to this hub to my own hub titled "Not Enough Sleep Can Make You Fat!" I've put it in a prominent place in a link capsule. With so many people having trouble sleeping these days, this article can be very helpful to a lot of people. Going to share it with my followers.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I have recently seen headlines for this information but hadn't gotten around to actually reading what the foods that encourage sleep are. This hub is helpful in answering that question. People who have trouble getting to sleep should read this hub.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very informative and useful hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Thanks Nell, Yes, I am often careful about what I eat before going to bed. Milk products help me sleep but often give me nightmares.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      I never knew that bananas were good for sleep apnea, great information, and something that we should all take notice of, we forget that food can affect our sleep patterns, nell

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I knew about dairy products inducing sleep, but I never would have thought about oats or flax seed or cherries encouraging restful sleep. Very interesting and useful. Thanks!

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      MsDora, if that works great, and cheaper than meds.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Hezekiah, concerning dairy products, I have a friend who claims she gets the best sleep after a bowl of ice cream. No more sleep-aid meds for her. Thanks for all these suggestions.