What to Eat for Better Sleep

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Daniel Lew, M.D.
January 06, 2023

There are many factors that can affect your rest and steal your sleep, especially as you get older. And some, such as disorders like sleep apnea, can be tricky to treat. But among the often overlooked contributors to your nightly sleep problems are the food and beverages you consume during the day.

Fortunately, avoiding foods that disrupt sleep and replacing them with sleep-promoting alternatives is something that’s within your control. “The healthfulness of your diet can significantly impact your overall sleep—or lack of it,” says Samantha Cassetty, R.D., a nutritionist in New York City and co-author of the book Sugar Shock.

An analysis of 29 studies published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews in June 2021 found that eating more processed and sugary foods was associated with worse sleep. In contrast, a study published in the journal Nutrients in September 2020 found that women who followed a nutritious Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, veggies, and other high-fiber plant foods, reported better sleep quality and fewer sleep disturbances.