Can my diet affect my sleep?

Your diet can indeed affect your sleep; what you eat at night can help you fall asleep by increasing the levels of serotonin in your brain. Watch me explain the foods to embrace and those to avoid for healthy sleep.
Foods containing high amounts of tryptophan, a precursor of sleep-inducing serotonin, can help you sleep.
Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice and pasta, and dairy products such as milk and cheese are examples of sleep-inducing foods.
However, you should avoid refined carbohydrates and high-sugar foods as these can quickly elevate blood glucose, and excessively fatty foods such as fried chicken and potato chips, as they can cause heartburn when you are trying to go to sleep. Eating salad can also help you sleep better at night as the lectucarium in lettuce has sedative properties.
Also, drinking before bed is not a good idea as you will probably end up having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. If you need to drink to take medications, take small sips, and if a full glass of water is needed, take the medicine earlier if possible, preferably not within 90 minutes of bedtime.
Alcohol and caffeine, on the other hand, make it harder to sleep. While alcohol can help you fall asleep, it prevents you from getting the REM sleep that you need to feel refreshed. The stimulatory effects of caffeine vary per person: for some people, the caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for hours. In general, you should abstain from caffeine in the afternoon and evening. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You may not think what happens at your dinner table has much to do with your nights of tossing and turning, but there is a connection. Diets high in refined sugar can cause indigestion and trigger insulin surges that interfere with the hormones that affect sleep. The solution: low-fat and high-fiber foods.

Continue Learning about Sleep Basics

Sleep Basics

Sleep Basics

Sleep is beneficial to your overall health. Getting a good night's sleep aids in memory recall, appreciation of loved ones and mental alertness. When sleep doesn't happen it can lead to lethargy, irritability and an increase risk ...

of certain diseases. Learn tips for getting a good sleep and the impact of sleep deprivation to your overall health.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.