Okay let’s be honest, who among us couldn’t use some more sleep?  Sleep, not just the quantity but also the quality, is a huge factor in the maintenance of good health and mood. While there are many lifestyle choices that can help or hinder our rest, we often don’t realize the effect that food has on our sleep.

In today’s post, I’m going to share which foods to enjoy and which to ditch to help ensure that you get the great night’s sleep that you’re after.

Foods to avoid

Coffee: Well this one is obvious, but coffee and any other foods with high levels of caffeine, like dark chocolate, black tea, and energy drinks, are a big no.  Caffeine does affect people differently and regular caffeine consumers can build up a bit of a tolerance, but if your sleep is suffering, it’s best to seriously cut down on the coffee.

Fried Foods: Fried foods are particularly bad for sleep when they are eaten later in the day.  Digestion actually requires a lot of energy, and if your body is working hard to break down a greasy meal late at night, it can make it harder to get to sleep.

Alcohol: While it can be tempting to induce sleep with a glass or two of wine, you aren’t actually reaping the sleep benefits. Alcohol consumption not only diminishes the quality of your sleep, but it causes you to wake more frequently throughout the night.

Foods to enjoy

For the most part, whole natural foods in general are great for preparing the body for a restful sleep.  Not only are they more easily digested than processed foods, but they are packed with nutrients that help the body to function properly.  If sleep is eluding you however, there are a few foods in particular that can help you unwind at the end of the day.

Cherries: Cherries help to boost levels of melatonin, the chemical that helps the brain to regulate your sleep cycle.  Eat some fresh cherries or have a glass of cherry juice in the evening to wind down before bed.

Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea actually acts as a mild sedative, soothing your muscles and nerves, and is perfect for helping you to relax before bed and induce sleep.

Rice: Studies have shown that eating rice, and in particular Jasmine rice, helps to bring on sleep.  Rice is high on the GI (glycemic index) scale and is easily digestible, making it a great sleep-aid.

Couple healthy food choices with sleep supporting lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and relaxation practices, and you will be on your way to a restorative night’s sleep.


Kate Horodyski is a Halifax-based freelance writer and wellness blogger. You can find her online on My Spiritual Roadtrip and on Instagram, @myspiritualroadtrip.