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Food for Insomnia: What To Eat When You Can't Sleep

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Mar 09, 2022

    Food for Insomnia: What To Eat When You Can't Sleep

    Insomnia: it’s happened to all of us before. Past bedtime, you find yourself scrolling through your phone. You try to shut your eyes to sleep but nothing does the trick. You think of getting a midnight snack. Could food for insomnia help you fight off irregular sleeping patterns?  

    The Problem of Insomnia

    Insomnia is more than just feeling exhausted after a sleepless night. This condition is characterized by a disruption in sleeping patterns, which may involve some daytime symptoms. Chronic insomnia is related to an increased risk of heart failure, depression, anxiety, and other health problems.

    Many people suffer from insomnia, making it the most prevalent sleep concern. It affects up to 30-35% of adults at some point in their lives. And 8-10% experience chronic insomnia — insomnia that occurs at least three times a week for three months or more.

    Sleep deprivation can also reduce one’s immunological response, and, if chronic, may increase your risk of dementia. To address insomnia, many try various remedies, such as medication or food for insomnia.

    Food for Insomnia: What To Eat

    According to a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, there are some food variants related to helping people to fall asleep faster — in as little as 20 minutes.

    Below are some food for insomnia to consider:

    1. Nuts

    Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, and even pistachios are healthy food for insomnia. They include melatonin (the “sleep hormone”) and other important minerals magnesium and zinc which are required for a variety of biological activities. 

    In a supplement-based clinical experiment, it was discovered this combination of minerals helped older people to sleep better.

    2. Milk

    Melatonin is naturally present in milk. It also contains high levels of tryptophan that helps in melatonin production, providing the body with some calming benefits.

    Cows’ milk contains more melatonin when milked at night, and this milk may be effective in providing a natural dose of the sleep-inducing hormone.

    Some studies in the past revealed that drinking malted milk before bedtime reduced sleep disruption. The reason for these advantages is unknown; however, they may be related to the B and D vitamins found in the malted milk.

    3. Yogurt 

    The calcium in yogurt helps you to attain sleep by processing the chemicals tryptophan and melatonin.

    4. Banana

    This common fruit is part of the list of food for insomnia with melatonin components. 

    Bananas also include magnesium and serotonin, with each working in different ways to promote sleep. Magnesium is responsible for reducing the cortisol levels (responsible for stress) in the body, while serotonins work to regulate good sleep.

    5. Rice

    Research revealed that adults in Japan who ate rice on a regular basis slept better as compared to those who ate more bread or noodles. Although this study merely found a connection and cannot prove causation, it supports other previous studies that found sleep benefits in diets with a high glycemic index.

    6. Fish

    A study found that fatty fish can be a beneficial part of the diet for those seeking better sleep. People who ate salmon three times per week had better overall sleep and daily functioning. 

    Fatty fish, according to researchers, may aid sleep by supplying a healthy amount of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these are important in the body’s serotonin control.

    Food for Insomnia: What To Avoid

    Some scientific evidence proposes that eating late at night makes sleeping more difficult, particularly if you eat fatty food. 

    Avoiding the consumption of heavy, high-fat meals at night can help prevent sleep disruption. Furthermore, limiting coffee consumption or anything that has caffeine can also be beneficial.

    Key Takeaway

    Food for insomnia might be the brain food (literally) that you need to wind down at the end of the day. Above all else, it is vital that you maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle so you can function well according to your circadian rhythm. 

    Learn more about Nutrition Facts here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Chris Icamen

    Dietetics and Nutrition

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Mar 09, 2022

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