What to Eat to Cure Insomnia

Updated: Feb. 08, 2017

These natural foods that promote relaxation might be just the ways to fall asleep.


Whole Grains

Oatmeal, whole-grain cereals and breads, and other complex carbohydrates increase production of serotonin, a kind of chemical lullaby, if you will. Serotonin slows nerve activity, calming the brain and spreading a “feel-good” message throughout your body. When darkness enters the picture, the brain converts serotonin to yet another hormone, melatonin, which regulates sleep. 

Red Meat and Other Iron-Rich Foods

If restless legs keep you awake, it’s possible that you have a form
of anemia caused by iron deficiency. Consult a physician to find out if
you do. The doctor may prescribe supplements or a diet rich in iron to
help correct the problem. Choose lean red meat for the least saturated
fat, and eat it for lunch rather than dinner because its protein can
counteract sleep-inducing serotonin.


You’ve probably heard the jokes about the Thanksgiving turkey putting
people to sleep, but this folk wisdom has a leg—make that two legs—to stand on. Turkey is rich in
tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin.

You can
also try honey with warm milk. A fast-digesting carbohydrate like honey
or mashed potatoes stimulates the release of insulin, which in turn
allows more tryptophan to enter the brain.


Chamomile Tea

Sometimes all it takes to fall asleep is going to bed with the
confidence that you will fall asleep. The scientific evidence on
chamomile tea for insomnia is thin, but many people find it relaxing. If you think a nice warm cup of this tea before bed will help you
drift off, it probably will.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest