Shot of a young woman relaxing on the sofa at home with a warm beverage

Who knew? It turns out that what you eat actually affects how well you sleep.
According to the American Sleep Association, 30 percent of Americans suffer from sleep insomnia. While there can be many different psychological causes, such as stress, depression and anxiety; diet plays a role too. Here’s what to eat (and avoid) for better sleep:

EAT Oatmeal with red figs, cranberries and walnuts in a bowl, above view on rustic wood

Prunes
Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep.  Prunes contain magnesium, vitamin-B6, and calcium – all of which help to generate melatonin.
Add them to homemade baked goods or blend them into smoothies.

Oats
Also rich in melatonin, these are great for relaxing your body to help you fall asleep.
Bake it into bread or make it into homemade muesli.

Nuts
Melatonin isn’t the only hormone necessary for regulating sleep, tryptophan helps too. Thankfully, nuts and seeds do too!
Eat a handful of nuts as a post-dinner treat.

AVOID Close up of mens hand grabbing chips

Fried foods
Your body is slow at digesting and absorbing this, so it’s best to eat these early in the day (if at all).
Grill foods instead.

Candy
When it’s time for bed you want your body to relax. Candy does the opposite – it’s a stimulant, full of sugar, keeping you awake when all you want is sleepy.
Opt for a water-heavy fruit, like watermelon. It will satisfy a sweet craving without spiking your blood sugar levels.

Salty foods
Salty = dehydration. Dehydration = waking up in the middle of the night thirsty. If you’re going to eat salty food, do your best to do so a good few hours before work so you have time to rehydrate.
Try low-sodium sauces or better yet, make your own!

DRINK Pouring tea from vintage teapot to the cup, English Tea Time.

Go for caffeine-free beverages. Think teas like camomile, lavender, ashwagandha and valerian.
A big cup before bed is the perfect way to combat sleeplessness.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams