Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Foods that help you sleep

Will a bedtime snack help me sleep better?

Updated: 04-14-2011

Answer

Eating a small snack a few hours before bedtime may help. There are no specific foods that help you sleep. But, it's a good idea to avoid certain foods late in the day. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don't go to bed hungry. A light snack before bedtime can keep hunger pangs from waking you up. For example, have a bowl of oatmeal, cereal with low-fat milk or yogurt with granola. If you have diabetes, discuss nighttime snacks with your doctor.
  • Avoid large, high-fat meals late in the day. Also avoid garlic-flavored and highly spiced foods. These foods can make you uncomfortable or cause heartburn.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Both can interfere with sleep. Keep in mind, it can take up to eight hours for the stimulating effects of caffeine wear off.
  • Don't drink too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluids before bed can cause you to wake up repeatedly to use the bathroom.

Everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. But if you frequently have insomnia, see your doctor to find out what steps you can take to improve your sleep.

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