Nutrition for Insomnia

Food can nourish and sustain us.  It can also harm us.  As you eat food, it is a good practice to ask “How is this food serving me?”  If you can’t think of a good answer, you probably shouldn’t eat it.  There are some foods and beverages that can interrupt sleep and others that can enhance it.


Caffeine can stay in your body for six to eight hours.  Caffeinated drinks such as soda, coffee, tea and energy drinks are very likely to disrupt sleep even in people who don’t notice the effects.  Even chocolate has caffeine.  These things are likely to keep you up later than is necessary, which will result in feeling tired the next day.  This will cause you to drink more caffeine to feel alert.  If you struggle with sleep, it may be best to cut out all caffeine, or, if that is too challenging, avoid caffeine after noon.


Alcohol can help a tense person fall asleep, but that person is then more likely to have a poor night’s sleep and may be unable to get back to sleep when the effects of the alcohol wear off.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can cause a person to feel restless.  In addition, they can cause heartburn and stomach upset which may disrupt sleep.


A small snack a few hours before bed can help you sleep better, However, a large meal or snack right before bed may actually interfere with sleep.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Overall, the best practice is to eat healthy foods that nourish your body rather than irritating it.  Try exploring an Anti-Inflamatory Diet.  Making small changes, regularly over time, can make a huge difference in your life, allowing you to feel calmer and healthier.  Inflammation in your system can lead to many health concerns such as allergies, headaches, skin irritations, and heart burn, all of which will affect the quality of your sleep.  Explore the link below for ideas on the type of foods that make up an Anti-Inflammatory Diet.

Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid

More Information

For more detailed instructions and worksheets to improve your diet, check out Chapter 3: Eating in a Modern World and Chapter 4: The Best Food for You, in Well to Do: A Guide to Take Charge, Set Goals, and Improve Your Health.