Nutrition for Sleep

If you’re anything like me, a bad night’s sleep can absolutely put a damper on your day (and health it seems!). Often we get complacent and hear ourselves saying to others “Oh, I haven’t slept well in years” yet we aren’t doing much to try and fix it (or you’ve been trying and haven’t found something that sticks!). Undoubtedly, sleep hygiene is optimal for promoting a healthy sleep, but if you’ve tried all the regular old tricks, it might be time to think about your food intake and how that might be hurting your sleep.

Sleep is vital for a number of physiological and psychological functions. A poor sleep can cause a negative change in your mood and cognition, affection learning and memory and your perception of pain, immunity and inflammation (1).


So what can you do to help it?

Although the evidence in this area is minimal, the following MAY help you get a better night’s sleep:

  • Eating high GI foods (e.g. white potato, pasta, rice) in your evening meal (must be at least 1 hour before going to sleep)
  • Having a high daily protein intake
  • Including tryptophan containing foods in your evening meal (e.g. poultry, eggs, game meat, sesame flour and spinach)
  • Including melatonin containing foods in your evening meal (e.g. tomatoes, strawberries and grapes)
  • Ensuring you’re getting enough iron, zinc and magnesium (1)

What might be hindering your sleep?

  • A high fat diet – this can influence total sleep time
  • Reduction in overall calories – quality of sleep is often disturbed


S Halson. Enhancing sleep through nutrition. Mysportsscience. 2020.

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