Try Our 9 Tips for Better Sleep Starting Tonight

Do you often say, “I sleep too well and wake too rested!”? Probably not. More likely you’ve had nights when you wish you could sleep better. 

If you’d like some ideas for sleeping better, we have some practical, all-natural tips.

Watch the foods you eat! Reach for sleep-friendly foods for bedtime snacks.

  1. Topping our list of good bedtime foods is an old standby: warm milk. Actually, most all dairy foods can do the same good things for your sleep. They contain tryptophan, which your body converts to serotonin. This substance helps control your mood and promote sleep. You can also get tryptophan from seeds (especially pumpkin and squash) and nuts (such as walnuts), tofu, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans and eggs.
  2. Foods rich in carbohydrates can boost your tryptophan levels. Consider a light bedtime snack of cereal and milk, nuts, crackers, bread or cheese. A little food in your stomach may help you sleep. Just don’t eat too much. That can be bad for sleep.
  3. White rice has a high glycemic index. Eating it will give you a boost in your blood sugar and insulin levels. This can help you fall to sleep a bit sooner. One study found that jasmine rice was especially effective in helping people fall asleep.

    What Deters Sleep?

  4. Fluids before bedtime can result in overnight restroom trips. We suggest you curb fluids two to three hours before your bedtime.
  5. Large meals and high-fat or high-protein foods late in the day can cause sleep problems. These foods require digestion, but digestion slows down during sleep. A big meal late can give you heartburn. And late meals can prompt nighttime trips to the bathroom.
  6. Watch out for caffeine late in the day. There’s caffeine in coffee (unless it’s decaffeinated), tea, many soft drinks and foods such as chocolate (including hot chocolate). We recommend you skip caffeine within four to six hours of bedtime.
  7. Over-the-counter and prescription medications may also contain caffeine. If you have sleep issues, be aware of the caffeine in products such as pain relievers, cold medications and weight loss pills. Check the labels to see if caffeine is an ingredient.
  8. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it might also cause you to wake up during the night. Alcohol can cause headaches, night sweats or nightmares in some users. If alcohol affects your sleep, follow the guidelines for caffeine. Forgo alcohol four to six hours before bedtime.
  9. Smoking is a health problem in a lot of ways. When it comes to sleep, nicotine is a stimulant with effects similar to caffeine. Health care providers recommend smokers quit.

If you’d like more ideas for quality sleep, visit with your health care provider. You may want to request a sleep consultation. You can connect with a sleep specialist who will help you explore your sleep life and uncover possible sleep disorders that may affect you.

We have a number of strategies that can help you get a better night’s sleep. Good sleep is an important ingredient in living well!

Meet the Author

Natalya Puckett, MD is a family medicine physician at Lakeshore Medical Clinic in St. Francis, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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