What to eat for a good night’s sleep

Getting a good sleep
Getting a good sleep

What you eat affects how you sleep?

How many times have you gone to bed after a late dinner or a midnight snack and tossed and turned and had the most ferocious dreams all because of that late feast?

Become a tryptophan Fan

Some foods actively contribute to a good night’s sleep because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin.

Simply put, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic so your brain isn’t revved up and raring to go.

By adding more foods containing tryptophan, a natural sedative, you are giving yourself a better chance of undisturbed rest.

Carbohydrates are particularly rich in this calming ingredient and many meal options can be planned that not only fit into your food plan but can also ensure you enjoy a safe passage to the land of nod.

Foods such as potatoes, Gluten Free pasta and bread, rice, eggs, seafood, chicken, turkey, Gluten free cereals, buckwheat, seeds and nuts are high in tryptophan and are perfect snooze boosters.

Try to have little snacks of these during the day or incorporate them into your evening meal to ensure you benefit from their in-built snooze facilities.

Of course going to bed hungry is a sure-fire way to ensure you’ll be counting sheep all night.

So ensure your evening meal is satisfying and not heavy in proteins, which will lay heavy on the stomach and could keep you awake.

If you do find you are hungry at bedtime, then great bedtime snacks could include:

*Houmous (homemade with garlic oil) with wholemeal Gluten Free pitta bread,

*Wholegrain Gluten Free cereal with a little skimmed milk (lactofree),

*Porridge (GF) made with skimmed milk (LF) and raisins

*Peanut butter spread on( GF) crisp breads.


Caffeine-rich drinks such as tea

Coffee and colas at bedtime

Late night curries


High protein foods late: such as large portions of red meat, full fat cheese

Sugary drinks

Cakes, chocolate and biscuits - which can play havoc with your blood sugar levels.

Some people sensitive to garlic may find that too much of this ingredient in their meals can upset their sleep pattern.

Herbal teas such as camomile or valerian have been found to be useful as night-time relaxants and many supermarkets and health food stores now stock a delicious range of bedtime teas that are worth exploring.

And lastly before you drift off!

Meals that are high in carbohydrates and low to medium in protein will help you relax in the evening and could ensure you have the best chance of a good night’s sleep.

Try the following dinners for new ideas in the best in snooze food:

*Wholemeal GF pasta, chicken, white sauce cornflour and LF milk, parmesan cheese

*Scrambled eggs with parsley

*Tofu/ vegetable stir fry

*Houmous, (homemade) raw vegetables with wholemeal GF pitta

*Seafood/ GF pasta and salad

*Tuna salad / Chicken sandwich

*Chilli with beans (not too spicy)


Eat regular meals and snacks and a variety of colours and flavours to achieve a wide variety of essential nutrients.

*Gillian Killiner BSc. (Hons) MSc. RD founder and director of 121 Dietitian an award winning Nutritional Consultancy Clinic.
Clinics are based in Bannatyne Health Club Belfast.
Call: 07717392306 Email: info@121dietitian.com Web: www.121dietitian.com