What is the Best Food for Insomnia?

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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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People who have trouble getting to sleep or sleeping through the night may want to consider food for insomnia as a way to treat this common condition. Some good choices to help a person get the rest they need are foods containing tryptophan, magnesium and melatonin. Complex carbohydrates and bananas are also good choices. All of these ingredients can help the insomniac get to sleep without having to use medications to do so.

Tryptophan is found in foods like the white meat of turkey and chicken, as well as beef and soybeans. This ingredient is also found in some dairy products, which means that someone looking for food for insomnia may want to consume yogurt, cottage cheese or cheese before bed. Drinking a glass of milk will also help, since it is a source of tryptophan as well. The old remedy of a glass of warm milk at bedtime was a good way to get to sleep, since the warmth of the drink helps the person ingesting it to feel relaxed while the tryptophan works to help release serotonin to help with falling asleep.

Foods containing magnesium also help to increase serotonin production in the brain. Making a point of eating foods like halibut, black beans and pumpkin seeds will help to reduce the likelihood of insomnia. Green, leafy vegetables also contain magnesium, which means they will help with insomnia.


Melatonin is a substance which is naturally found in plants and animals. Cherries are a good source of melatonin and are included on the list of food for insomnia. A tart variety, such as Montmorency, is a good choice to help induce sleepiness. It is available as a concentrate which can be combined with water for a refreshing drink before bed.

Complex carbohydrates, like whole grain breads and cereals, are also considered to be good foods for insomnia. They should be consumed a couple of hours before bed time for the individual to get the best results from this strategy for falling asleep. Having a snack like whole grain cereal with milk or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat will help with insomnia.

Bananas should also be placed on the food for insomnia list. This food contains amino acids, and helps to create a calming effect when eaten. Having a banana before bed is a light snack that definitely can help a person who has trouble falling or staying asleep do just that.


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Post 3

Hot milk before bed sounds a little old fashioned but it works. There is a reason why people have been doing this for hundreds of years. It's calming, relaxing and prepares one for sleep time. I don't think cold milk has as much of an effect though. Hot milk or warm milk is better.

Herbal tea can also help with insomnia. I usually avoid caffeine in the evening and drink things like chamomile or lemon balm tea. Lemon balm tea is wonderful for insomnia. It actually knocks me out.

Post 2

@fify-- Yep, turkey has a lot of tryptophan and that's how it helps regularize sleep patters. Many people use tryptophan supplements for this reason. Or they use other supplements that encourage melatonin production. But it's best to get tryptophan from foods because one cannot overdose that way and the tryptophan is absorbed better. It's easy to take too much supplements and they have side effects when too much is used. But I've never heard of anyone overdosing on tryptophan from natural foods.

Post 1

Those with difficulty sleeping ought to have turkey for dinner. We had turkey sandwiches for dinner last night. I usually sleep fairly late, around 2am. Yesterday, I was asleep by 11pm because of the turkey. It really induces sleep. It might get tiring to eat turkey every day but one eat it at least a few days a week.

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