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Can’t Sleep? Eat (And Don’t Eat) These Foods

“I’m going to sleep so good tonight,” we grunt and groan, rubbing our bellies and slowly sliding further into our seats. A good meal at the end of the day is comforting. Eating just enough, perhaps too much, or having the exact food we have been craving all day puts us at ease.

Then, something happens. We’re wide awake. The promise of of an epicurean induced slumber slides away as we did earlier in our dinner table seats. Our stomachs might be grumbling, our insides might be burning, and most certainly our minds are wide awake.

Food is fuel. What we put into our bodies affects our energy and our minds in addition to our digestive systems. We know that there are herbal teas like chamomile and lavender to help us go to sleep. Certainly turkey and foods containing tryptophan and melatonin cause an easy transition into sleep land. Did you know there are other foods which will help you sleep or keep you wide awake?


Foods To Sleep

  • Complex Carbs: there’s little doubt that a big bowl of pasta can tucker one out for the night. Rather than eating simple starches or bleached starches, opt for grains and wheat. Complex carbs take longer to digest, allowing you to fall asleep while your body does the work.

  • Fatty Fishes: Fish like salmon and tuna which can have a high fat count are great sleepy time foods. Both fish contain tryptophan and vitamins to help your body naturally produce melatonin

  • Leafy Greens: spinach, kale, and chard, all have calcium. Combining calcium rich foods with tryptophan rich foods is an extra boost for producing melatonin.

  • Simple Fruits: Fruits with high fiber and sweet taste will satisfy your late night sugar cravings without the negative consequences.  


Foods Not To Sleep

  • Fried Foods: eating a deep fried meal can certainly make you feel lethargic, but it probably won’t help you sleep. Salty, fatty, fried foods are going to cause bloating and gas. It will be hard to find a comfortable position, breathe deeply, and sleep soundly.

  • Sugary Sweet Desserts: nothing tops a rich meal like a sweet dessert. Sugar is a stimulant, yet we often choose dessert as the last meal of the night. Too much sugar after dinner can wake your body up even worse, as you stay up all night from the sugar high, you’ll eventually experience a sugar crash- usually right in time to wake up and start your day, exhausted.


Enlightened Solutions emphasizes the importance of a holistic and balanced diet. As part of our treatment programs we offer nutritional guidance, educational courses on food and eating, as well as cooking classes. For more information on our programs for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders, call 833-801-5483 today.

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