- With Mayo Clinic sleep specialist
Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D.close window
Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D.
Risk factors (1)
- Sleep and weight gain: What's the connection?
- Late-day exercise: Can it cause insomnia?
- Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
Treatments and drugs (3)
- Sleeping pills: How can I avoid becoming dependent?
- Ambien: Is dependence a concern?
- Sleep aids: Could antihistamines help me sleep?
Lifestyle and home remedies (7)
- Insomnia: How do I stay asleep?
- Foods that help you sleep
- Sleep and technology: What's the connection?
- see all in Lifestyle and home remedies
Foods that help you sleep
Will a bedtime snack help me sleep better?
from Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D.
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.Next question
Sleep and technology: What's the connection?
- Bonnet MH, et al. Treatment of insomnia. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 20, 2011.
- Heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/#5. Accessed Jan. 18, 2011.
- In brief: Your guide to healthy sleep. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf. Accessed Jan. 18, 2011.