Sleepless nights? what to eat to sleep better

comida na cama


Sleeping can become a problem when we have little time to stop, our diet is unhealthy or we eat foods that can harm sleep.

A bad sleep doesn't take much. Sometimes, maintaining a certain habit, however small it may be, can throw away a good night sleep. Sleep well is often the real challenge.

Sleep deprivation is related to the appearance of various health problems:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • arthrosis
  • headaches
  • memory loss
  • obesity
  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular diseases 

That's why sleep well it is essential to have a good quality of life and prevent diseases, allowing you to give your best every day.

What is the relationship between sleep and food?

Poor diet can be one of the causes or consequences of insomnia. At first glance, the relationship between poor sleep and the way you eat may not be so intuitive. Therefore, we will explain to you, in a simple way, how everything happens.

These two concepts are directly linked, functioning as a vicious cycle: lack of sleep can greatly impair your motivation for day-to-day challenges, making the desire to eat less healthy foods increase considerably.

On the other hand, the worse your food choices are, the more likely you are to spend more sleepless nights.

Whenever sleep is insufficient, there is a greater tendency to follow less correct eating routiness, like:

  • eat in the absence of hunger
  • eating emotionally, when you are stressed or sad
  • eating foods high in refined fats and sugars, which are an easy way to weight gain

All this causes the balance between hormones that control hunger to be lost, increasing appetite, weight, and the likelihood of diseases such as, for example, type 2 diabetes.

If you're one of those people who don't have a set time for meals or if you feel that your evenings don't have the quality you'd like, maybe it's time to rethink your routines.

The lower the quality of sleep, the lower your physical and mental availability. 


What should I eat before sleep?

comida em cima da mesa


In order for your body to function properly and this translates into better nights sleep, you should favor foods that are low in calories and rich in nutrients, as well as those that help you have peaceful nights.

Betting on foods rich in melatonin, as well as those that help in its production, is one of the natural ways to sleep better through food. In addition to inducing and regulating sleep, melatonin it is also responsible for regulating our body's metabolic function during the day.

Know some foods rich in melatonin that help you sleep better.

Milk and derivatives

Drink a glass of milk before sleep it can give you a good night's sleep. Dairy products contain tryptophan and calcium, which influence the production of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep and increases its quality.  When melatonin production is altered, your sleep pattern changes and this can increase irritation and sensitivity.


Fish, in addition to being a healthy food rich in essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the body, stimulates the production of melatonin, because it contains tryptophan. Cod, sardines and salmon are good examples.


Turkey is a very powerful food for sleep well, since, in addition to containing a high concentration of tryptophan, it is also a good source of calcium, which promotes the quality of sleep.


Egg yolk also contains calcium, tryptophan and iron, the three great allies of sleep. Iron deficiency, in addition to promoting tiredness and other health problems, makes your nights more restless, keeping you alert at times when you should be sleeping and causing drowsiness during the day.


Vegetables must be consumed on a daily basis, as they are the pillars of a healthy and balanced diet. 

A food routine that includes vegetables is associated with nights of sleep lasting 8 hours or more. Spinach is a good example. They are rich in magnesium, which is essential for the proper functioning of the brain. When there is a lack of magnesium in your organism, your brain suffers, giving you free access to bad nights.


In addition to containing potassium, bananas have a large amount of vitamin B6, which plays an important role in preventing  insomnia - the word you'll want to take out of your dictionary.


Eating nuts like pistachios, almonds or walnuts before bed is also a great idea! These dried fruits are a source of tryptophan, magnesium and good fats. 

In the particular case of walnuts, they are one of the foods rich in melatonin and essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc.

In addition to avoiding sleepless nights, they work well as a snack, in case you can't control hunger outside of meal times. Despite being made up of good fats, they are quite caloric. Therefore, you should eat them in small amounts. 

What should I not eat before bed?

Certain foods are harder to digest, which can disrupt your sleep routines keeping your mind active and awake.

We don't want to be a killjoy, but we don't there is a perfect answer to what not eat before sleep. Even though there are foods you should avoid if your goal is to sleep well:


Coffee, Black Tea and Green Tea

These drinks will not help you, because they are highly stimulating, preventing you from relaxing. They work like an alarm clock, as they won't let you sleep.

Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages

These types of drinks also stimulate the brain. They may favor the onset of sleep, but it is very likely that your rest will be of very poor quality.

It is often thought that alcohol makes you drowsy, but in fact it has a much more harmful effect than you might think. It has the power to “split sleep”, because it increases the risk of pauses in breathing and prevents your body from fully relaxing.


Foods that contain a lot of sugar, such as chocolate, will make you have more problems sleeping.

In this case, as your body receives large doses of sugar, it will have to work faster to digest it, making your agitation grow and sleeping no longer a priority.

Potato and Pasta

Eating foods high in protein and carbohydrates before bed, such as potatoes and pasta, will trigger your body to produce insulin to process them. This will occupy your organism and therefore you will feel more difficulty sleeping.

Fats and Condiments

Foods that are high in fat and highly spiced can cause heartburn and indigestion as they take longer to digest.

As the body will focus all its attention on digesting these foods, the brain will find it much more difficult to rest and, you guessed it, here comes another sleepless night.


Eating garlic before bed: will it be as beneficial as they say?

One of the most heard popular beliefs, regarding the type of food we can (or not) eat before bed, says that eating a clove of garlic can help improve our sleep habits. 

Although the vast majority of us use garlic as a seasoning in the preparation of meals, traditional medicine considers it a strong ally in the fight against insomnia and others sleep disorders. So, does eating garlic before bed really help you get better nights sleep?

Considered as a superfood, and known for its immense properties, garlic is rich in vitamin C and B6 and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, among others.

The truth is that there is still no scientific evidence to prove the influence of garlic consumption before bedtime in improving sleep. However, garlic intake can be an effective strategy for those who snores during the night. 

According to the Encyclopedia of Old Medicine, the consumption of garlic helps to dry the mucous membranes and open the airways, reducing the chances of snoring and, consequently, contributing to better nights sleep… both for those who snore, as for anyone who sleeps with someone who does. 

Even so, garlic consumption does not need to be done before bed, it is enough that it is included in eating habits. 

How to consume?

For a better absorption of its properties, the ideal is to consume the raw garlic. When a raw garlic clove is crushed or cut, a chemical called allicin is released. Allicin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial properties and supports cardiovascular health.

However, it is only possible to take advantage of this active principle if the garlic is consumed raw. At high temperatures, its properties are lost and the benefits are almost non-existent.

As with everything, garlic should also be consumed in moderation! Eating too much garlic can cause digestive problems and trigger allergic reactions.

I am diabetic. What can I eat before bed?

For those with diabetes, choosing the right foods to eat before bed is very important for controlling blood glucose levels.

People taking specific diabetes medications or insulin may need to eat before bed to avoid a mid-night blood sugar crash. Above all, priority should be given high-protein, low-fat snacks, in order to keep the sugar levels balanced. 

These are some examples of snacks that, as a rule, can be consumed before bed by those with diabetes:

  • wholemeal toast with cheese;
  • whole wheat bread with peanut butter;
  • a handful of walnuts;
  • sliced apple with peanut butter.

Above all, when dealing with people with diabetes, the habit of eating before going to bed should be discussed with a doctor or nutritionist, in order to adapt each food to each need.

What habits should I keep to sleep better?

Your habits and routines are essential for success or failure in the most varied areas of your life. Sleep and food are no different. You might even think that sleep a nap during the day it will make you recover the lost rest, but we regret to inform you: that is not the solution.

Here are some habits you should follow so you can say goodbye to sleepless nights:

  • Maintain a varied and balanced diet
  • Opt for light meals for dinner
  • Eat dinner early, at least three hours before bedtime
  • Avoid eat before bed
  • Go to bed early (sleep seven to nine hours a night)
  • Respect meal times:
    • Breakfast: between 7 and 8 am
    • Morning snack: between 10 am and 11 am
    • Lunch: between 1pm and 3pm
    • Afternoon snack: between 4pm and 5pm
    • Dinner: between 7 pm and 9 pm
  • Drink calming teas before going to sleep or choose one of our aromatherapy pads to have a more relaxing night
  • Protect your mattress with aloe vera protector so that its softness helps you prepare for a good night's sleep

Deep down, you just need to remember that the secret to a peaceful night is knowing what to eat, what not to eat and what habits to follow so that the sleep deprivation don't be your reality.

To take good care of yourself, it is essential to eat healthily and get enough sleep. Your daily routines will reflect in your nights, so don't forget that what you eat and what you do has a direct effect on your sleep.


At Colmol, our priority is the satisfaction of those looking to improve their nights rest through effective and quality products. Our team of Sleep Specialists provide daily personalized advice adapted to the needs of each client who comes to us. 

If you are looking for this specialized help, you can contact us directly at::

  • phone to the number +351 300 600 110
  • or send us your questions to the email

We are always available to help you… and your sleep 🧡


Did you already know the influence that food can have on our sleep?


  • Muito boa a matéria!!

  • Muito obrigado Sr. António! Estamos cá para melhorar a qualidade de vida :)

  • São sempre bem-vindas informações úteis para a saúde física e mental. Bem divulgadas e bem seguidas poupam maçadas e dinheiro. Nunca é tarde.

    António Gaspar Martins

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published