Researchers have found that eating and drinking poor quality and highly processed carbohydrates, such as noodles, sweets, energy or sugary drinks, are associated with poor sleep quality. Eating more high-quality carbohydrates (such as whole grains), fish, colourful vegetables and following a Mediterranean-style eating plan can improve sleep quality.
Caffeine is a stimulant and can have a negative effect on your sleep by making it harder for you to fall asleep. This delay in getting to sleep can shorten your overall sleep time.
Alcohol may help you relax and fall asleep in the short term but, over the night, it inhibits the sleep process and can prevent you from getting deep, restful sleep.
What food and drink will help me to sleep well?
Based on current evidence, eating the following foods daily can improve your chances of a good night’s sleep:
* Follow a Mediterranean eating plan, which includes plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, fish, olive oil and less red meat and processed foods.
* Include protein foods that contain tryptophan, such as chicken, eggs, cheese, fish, peanuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, milk, turkey, tofu and other soy products.
* Choose high-quality carbohydrate foods, such as wholegrain breads and cereals, brown rice and oats.
* Eat plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit.
What should I eat or drink less to sleep well?
Reduce your intake of these foods and drinks to help improve the quality of your sleep:
* highly processed carbohydrates, such as refined noodles, sweets, energy or sugary drinks
* spicy foods, especially if you’re prone to heartburn
* caffeine within 6–8 hours of your bedtime – this includes coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate (including hot chocolate drinks)
* too much liquid just before bedtime (it makes you wake often to go to the loo!).
What food and drink should I avoid before bedtime?
If you’re still having trouble getting to sleep, try these ideas:
* High protein foods may assist sleep when eaten about 1 hour before bedtime, for example:
* fortified and/or melatonin-rich milk drinks (eg, Horlicks)
* yoghurt with oats sprinkled on top
* crackers with peanut butter or a slice of cheese or turkey
* apple with a small slice of cheese.
* Tart cherries and kiwifruit have also been found to improve sleep quality and length in some small trials.
Note: there is no evidence that probiotic supplements or chamomile tea improve sleep.
If you eat healthy you’ll notice you need less sleep than someone who eats a lot of bad food.
Source health navigator