Eat These Types of Foods at Night to Sleep Better, According to Science

The secret to a great night’s sleep is just one bite away.

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Odds are, you have heard plenty of tried-and-true tips for getting a great night’s sleep. Turning down the temps in your room, cutting the caffeine, and avoiding computer/phone screens are just a few of the obvious ones. But according to recent research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the trick to maximizing your Zzz’s might start with what’s on your plate.

To determine the best diet for a better night’s sleep, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center monitored the sleep patterns of 26 adults for five nights. For the first four days, the participants ate foods that were low in saturated fat and high in protein, and the researchers observed their sleep patterns. The participants could choose their own meals on the last night; then, the researchers studied their sleep patterns again.


The results, which were published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, found that food choices play a huge role in your quality of sleep. Eating the low-fat, high-protein diet caused the subjects to fall asleep within 17 minutes, on average. On the flip side, when participants chose their own foods, it took them nearly twice as long to fall asleep—about 30 minutes, in fact.

And the researchers didn’t just stop there. Not only did those sugary and fatty snacks make it harder for the subjects to snooze, but they also had “less restorative” shuteye and woke up more often throughout the night, the researchers reported. Beware of the best and worst eating habits for sleep, too.

“This study emphasizes the fact that diet and sleep are interwoven in the fabric of a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Nathaniel Watson, American Academy of Sleep Medicine President, said in a statement. “For optimal health, it is important to make lifestyle choices that promote healthy sleep, such as eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.”

Keep in mind that this study is small, so it can’t speak for every single insomniac. But if you’re constantly tossing and turning at night, switching up your diet might be worth a shot. Picky eaters, don’t despair; these p.m. snacks will get you snoring, too.

[Source: Real Simple]