Foods for Good Sleep: What to Eat and What to Avoid


foods for good sleep

When one thinks about the prerequisites of getting a good night’s sleep, the mind automatically darts to the things present in the immediate environment like the bed, pillows or perhaps a cool and pleasant temperature in the room. The physical environment has a profound effect on the quality of sleep along with the choosing the best foods for good sleep. In fact, the mattress that you rest your back on not only influences the quality of your sleep but can also affect your musculoskeletal health. The wrong mattress can exponentially increase chronic pain problems and give you a bad posture.

In fact, the type of mattress can also differ according to body weight and the sleeping posture of the individual. While an individual with a lower BMI can make do with a thinner mattress, a person who is on the heavier side of the spectrum would require a thicker and firmer mattress to provide adequate support to the back and the spine. Similarly, the type of mattress would be different for a side sleeper and a back sleeper.

However, besides the obvious, did you also know, what you eat throughout the day can also affect your quality of sleep at night?

Food and Sleep Connection

In fact, a number of ailments such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes have been linked to poor sleep. Psychologists have also found a relationship between poor sleep and eating disorders such as binge eating and bulimia nervosa. Bingeing on high sodium food like potato chips and fried food can further exacerbate the problem leading to a vicious cycle that results in poor sleep, weight gain and an unhealthy body. To get a good night’s sleep, it is always advisable to reduce the intake of fries and frozen food items.

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Best Foods for Good Sleep: 

Let’s understand the type of foods for deep sleep:

Indulge in Healthy Snacks

Scientific studies have shown that complex carbohydrates added with a little bit of protein can make an excellent bedtime snack and great foods for good sleep in the long run as well. If you feel hunger pang and are dying for a late night snack, replace it with a healthy snack at night.  You can reach out to a bowl of cereal or whole wheat bread coupled with a dollop of peanut butter. With time you will learn to replace unhealthy items with foods to help sleep. By having a full stomach throughout the day, you will find yourself less tempted to raid the fridge in the middle of the night for a midnight snack. 

Eat fruits on a daily basis

It is recommended to add fruits to your diet every day as they’re considered one of the best foods for sleep. Fruits rich in vitamins and minerals such as bananas, cherries, pineapple, oranges etc. are foods that help you sleep through the night. These fruits are known to clear your digestive tract and help the body produce melatonin & serotonin, which helps you sleep better. 

Plant based diets

Veganism is a major lifestyle change but has numerous benefits. One of them is sleep. Such diets include foods that induce sleep have been linked to lower inflammation which help in uninterrupted sleep and discomfort. Including protein and vitamin rich vegetables, nuts and fruits help improve sleep as these are considered one of the best foods for good sleep.

Foods that Prevent Sleep: What Not to Eat Before Bed

Go Slow on the Caffeine

Consumption of too much caffeine throughout the day can have a detrimental effect on your sleep. Studies have also shown that caffeine can disrupt your body clock, thereby reducing your sleep during the night.

Refined Carbs

Consumption of certain refined carbs such as white rice, white flour can lead to loss of sleep and must be controlled. These can be replaced with healthier options and foods that help you sleep.

Spicy foods

Spicy foods are acidic in nature and eating them closer to bedtime causes lack of sleep. It also raises the core temperature of the body causing heartburn or acidity leading to restlessness and low sleep. 

Other Tips For Good Sleep

Break Up your Meals

Just incorporating healthy foods for good sleep isn’t enough. You also need to space out the meals evenly throughout the day. To achieve a better sleeping habit, you need to have a balanced diet throughout the day that is complete with all the important nutrients that your body needs to function properly. Rather than having a heavy meal just before going to bed, try breaking up the meals into six smaller meals throughout the day. This way, you can avoid the danger of eating too much or too little. Large, late night dinners are known to increase the blood flow to the digestive tract which is one of the main reasons for a bloated stomach. On the contrary, skipping dinner can lower the iron level and is known to be a contributor to restless leg syndrome. You can also check out our blog on conversation with Nutritionist Dr. Nikita Suresh on food habits for sleeping.

Hydration & Sleep

Besides solid food, doctors also recommend staying well hydrated throughout the day to enable better sleeping at night. However, refrain from emptying the whole bottle of water right before you go to bed in case you do not wish to visit the washroom five times in the night!

Practice Yoga and Meditation

For years now, practicing Yoga and Meditation has numerous benefits, especially sleep. It helps improve sleeping patterns, helps falling asleep faster and better in the night. 

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