How Diet Affects Sleep - Choice Diets

How Diet Affects Sleep

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no additional cost to you. For more information please visit our Disclaimers page.

how diet affects sleep

A growing body of research suggests that your diet plays a role in how well you sleep. Eating a diet high in sugar, saturated fat and processed carbohydrates can disrupt your sleep, while eating more plants, fiber and foods rich in unsaturated fat — such as nuts, olive oil, fish and avocados — seems to have the opposite effect, helping you get sound rest.


Vegetables are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, with many types offering benefits including vitamin C, dietary fiber, and iron. They can also help protect you from age-related eye disease, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Vegetables come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. They can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on their type. Most vegetables are low in calories and fat, but some may contain higher levels of nutrients, such as calcium or potassium.

Research suggests that a diet with high amounts of fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains and legumes is associated with lower levels of inflammation. In turn, this may help improve sleep quality by reducing the amount of circulating pro-inflammatory markers like IL-6 and CRP.

This study investigated the association between sleep duration and fruit and vegetable intakes in middle-aged UK women. Cross-sectional and prospective analyses were performed using 4-day food diaries at baseline and follow-up. Regression models adjusting for age, socio-economic status, smoking and total energy intake were used. The results were consistent across both cross-sectional and prospective analyses, with SS and LS having fewer grams and servings of fruits and vegetables compared to RS.


While it may be tempting to gobble down a bowl of juicy melon or sweet, fresh strawberries before bed, fruits aren’t always the best choice for sleep. Fruits are high in sugar, and some can cause digestive problems that disrupt your ability to get a good night’s rest.

In fact, if you have acid reflux or a digestive issue like Crohn’s disease, eating fruit before bed could make it worse. The same goes for people who have fructose malabsorption or those who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Another reason to avoid fruit right before bed is that it can lead to a drop in blood pressure, which could cause you to wake up in the middle of the night feeling groggy. In contrast, if you eat a protein-rich food before bed, such as turkey, you’re likely to have a more relaxing night of sleep and wake up feeling less fatigued the next day.

To help you make the most of your fruit intake, try to consume different types and colors to get a variety of beneficial plant chemicals in your diet. This will help you avoid boredom and keep your body stocked with the nutrients it needs to function properly.


The consumption of dairy products could positively influence sleep quality by promoting the production of endogenous melatonin (through the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin), as shown in Figure 1. Dairy proteins are rich in tryptophan (Trp), which is converted to melatonin through its micronutrient cofactors, zinc and magnesium.

These micronutrients are also present in the dietary fiber of whole grains and legumes. In addition, fermented milk products, like yogurt and kefir, are high in prebiotics and probiotics and may also promote favorable changes in the gut microbiome, which might contribute to their effects on sleep.

However, the evidence on the relationship between dairy and sleep is limited. Although some studies have reported positive associations, the overall effect of milk intake on sleep is unclear because of limitations in study design and sample size. In particular, studies that aimed to examine the association between nighttime milk intake and sleep outcomes were unable to provide robust evidence of an effect.


A healthy diet is essential for your sleep, as it provides your body with a wide range of nutrients that can help you maintain good health. However, certain foods can have a negative impact on your sleep.

Meat is one of the most popular types of food in the world, and it’s easy to see why: It’s nutritious, filling and delicious. But it can also negatively affect your sleep if you eat too much of it or consume it in high quantities before bedtime.

If you eat meat, try to limit it to lean cuts and cook them well. Keeping meat low in fat is another good way to avoid negative effects on your sleep.

Some meats, such as turkey and beef, are known to increase the amount of melatonin produced in your body. These hormones help regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Adding other foods with these nutrients, such as fruits and nuts, can also help you sleep better.


Nuts contain melatonin, a hormone that may help people fall asleep and sleep more deeply. They also contain a number of other nutrients that are known to boost sleep quality, including magnesium and selenium.

Generally, it is best to avoid dry-roasted or salted nuts because these have extra salt and sometimes sugar. Instead, opt for raw and unsalted roasted options when possible.

The best type of nut is one with a high-quality omega-3 fatty acid content, such as walnuts and pistachios. These are also rich in fiber, which can lower blood cholesterol levels and improve satiety.

However, not all nuts are created equal. Some, like peanuts, are actually legumes and not true nuts.

Botanically, a nut is a dry fruit with a single seed encased in a tough outer shell that does not split open at maturity to release its seed (indehiscent). Examples of botanical nuts include chestnuts, hazelnuts, and pine nuts.

The most common culinary nuts are the seeds of drupe fruits, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios. Other common names for edible oily seeds include peanuts, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts.


Seeds are tiny, nutrient-rich edible organelles that offer a variety of health benefits. They’re packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. They can add a punch of flavor and texture to any meal while helping to reduce cholesterol, improve digestion and boost immunity.

They’re a key component of many dietary plans such as the paleo diet, low-FODMAP eating plan and vegan diets. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, which promotes regularity and is helpful for managing digestive health issues like hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

In addition, seeds contain nutrients that provide a source of energy and materials to young plants. This process, known as provisioning, is important because it allows plants to build structures that can obtain these resources on their own.

Seeds are composed of an embryo (embryo = baby plant) that is surrounded by a protective covering, called the testa. There are many different types of seeds, and each one varies in size, shape, and color. For example, chia seeds are round or flat with a smooth exterior and a soft interior.


If you eat a lot of foods high in saturated fats or protein, or if you go to bed too soon after eating a large meal, it can affect your sleep. Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates can also cause problems with sleep.

Research shows that a diet rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories may improve your ability to get good sleep. This healthy eating pattern includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats like fish oil.

It also includes a variety of micronutrients, including vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. These vitamins are involved in the production of melatonin and serotonin, two hormones that help you fall asleep and stay asleep. In addition, vitamin D is important for sleep. It’s a good idea to incorporate foods that are fortified with vitamin D into your daily diet.

Other Foods

The foods we eat can play an important role in our sleep. Eating certain types of foods or consuming too much of them can impact your ability to get a good night’s rest.

For example, heavy meals right before bed can cause indigestion and disrupt your sleep. Similarly, foods with added sugar have been linked to poor sleep.

High fat intake can also have an impact on sleep. Consuming too much saturated fat can increase the amount of time spent waking up during the night and reduce total sleep duration.

Alternatively, eating a low-fat diet can have a positive impact on sleep quality by improving REM sleep efficiency and slow-wave sleep.

Although the effects of specific foods on sleep are still being investigated, research suggests that a healthy diet can help improve your sleep. Diets that contain lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are all associated with good sleep.

Choice Diets