Foods that make baby sleep better

Foods to Encourage Your Baby to Sleep Better

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Could choosing the right food be the key to more precious sleep time for little ones and you?

If your baby won’t sleep after eating, or you’re hoping to feed baby to sleep through the night, here are our top tips for the best baby food to give baby before bed to encourage them to sleep better.

Bedtime foods when weaning

If your baby is starting to wean off milk and you’re introducing solid foods (from around six months onwards), you’re probably already trying a variety of different foods, from purees to porridge and rice, finger foods and fruit. The most important thing is to keep food healthy, nutritious and easy for baby to digest.

Foods that can help your baby sleep through the night

So, what foods will aid sleep for your little one and which are the best baby foods to feed before bed? Try these easy-to-digest foods to help your little one sleep through the night:

  • Porridge: This wholesome favourite is a healthy choice for babies and adults and it’s light and easy to digest, provided you can get your little one to eat it rather than wear it.
  • Rice: Brown rice is very nutritious for babies and white rice is easy to digest and light on the stomach. Rice pudding is a popular dessert that could help your little one sleep.
  • Whole grain cereal with milk: Combining diary and cereal will help encourage your baby to naturally produce sleepy hormones.
  • Turkey and chicken: Provided you’re not feeding baby a vegetarian diet, adding these meats shredded or in soups can be a good way of adding protein to baby’s diet. If your little one is confident enough to feed themselves, then let them help themselves to small strips.

Helping baby to sleep well

There are many reasons why your baby may struggle to sleep or wake frequently throughout the night, so it’s always important to check that they are safe and comfortable. Visit our sleep section for more help and support with baby sleep.

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9 Best Dinner Foods for Your Baby to Help Him Sleep Peacefully All Night! (With Recipes)

Putting your baby to sleep is perhaps one of the toughest tasks you need to accomplish every day. Babies wake up often every night and find it difficult to sleep at a stretch. This also affects your health as you need to stay up with your baby and help him feel better. Very often, your baby finally falls asleep at 6 AM and for you, it is time to get started on the new day! Well, what if you found that making a couple of changes in your baby’s dinner can solve this problem?

If your baby has weaned off breastmilk and been introduced to solid foods, he probably eats a variety of things for dinner. Purees, porridge, rice, fruits…Our purpose is to keep his dinner nutritious, filling and easy to digest. But here’s the interesting part: research suggests that diet has a very crucial role to play in your baby’s SLEEP cycle!

The contents of any food item that we consume have an effect on our overall health. While some foods make us alert and wakeful (think coffee, for adults), there are certain food products that are known to promote sleep. These food items combined with complex carbohydrates help in the release of sleep-promoting substances in the body. This makes your baby feel sleepy and comfortable after his dinner. Simply put, this means he is likelier to nap sooner and for longer!
Did you know that according to some studies in child development, each sleepless hour a night can potentially cut down TWO cognitive years in a baby?

9 Dinner Food Recipes for Babies to Help them Sleep Better Through the Night

Here are 9 dinner foods for babies that are not just nutritious and easy to digest but also help your little one get a good night’s sleep!


Warm Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a wholesome food in itself, extremely healthy for both babies and adults. But here’s the best part: it is also an excellent source of melatonin which helps trigger insulin production. Insulin in turn helps in inducing sleep! You can prepare oatmeal in many different forms, the simplest of which is a porridge, light and easy to digest for babies. We recommend mixing it up with apples to improve both the taste and the nutrition quotient.

Recipe: Oats Porridge With Apples

2. White Rice

Rice is well-known be high in glycemic index. This, according to several scientific studies, has been found to help people sleep better and faster. Now you know why many people tend to feel sleepy after consuming rice! Although brown rice is highly recommended for babies due to its higher nutrient value, white rice has a higher glycemic index when compared to brown. Plus, rice is easily digested by babies and is light on the stomach too. Try this rice pudding with apples again – quite a delicious dinner food to help your baby nap!

Recipe: Apple Rice Pudding

3. Spinach

As mothers, we keep stressing on feeding green leafy vegetables to our little ones. We want them to reap the benefits of nutrients such as iron, vitamins and minerals. But did you know that apart from providing the required nutrients, green veggies are also rich in tryptophan – an amino acid that our bodies use to synthesize proteins? Tryptophan also helps in the production of melatonin – the body’s ‘sleep hormone’! It is also called the body clock hormone as it determines the baby’s sleep-wake cycles. Whew, spinach has so many other health benefits that its sleep-inducing property is just another feather in its cap!

4. Cherries

Cherries are another great addition to your baby’s dinner, for the same reason as spinach – they are replete with melatonin, the sleep hormone! They are also quite delicious which means your baby is likelier to accept them easily. Keep in mind that tart cherries contain the most amount of melatonin so choose them over the sweet ones.

How to Feed: It is best to de-seed and puree the cherries before feeding your baby. This makes them easier to consume and digest.

Watch: An Easy Cherry Puree Recipe for Your Baby

Key Takeaway:

  • All you need are cherries, either frozen or fresh. Defrost the frozen cherries for 4-5 hours before preparing the puree.
  • Puree the cherries in the food processor or blender.
  • Place the mix on a low-medium flame for 5 minutes. Remove when it starts steaming.
  • Strain the mixture to get out the chunky bits with a mesh sieve.



Bananas are loved by many babies for their soft, sweet taste. But did you know that they contain a good amount of magnesium which is a natural muscle relaxant? Relaxed muscles mean your baby feels sleepier after dinner and eventually sleeps better! Apart from this, bananas also have good amounts of melatonin and serotonin. We recommend the following banana puree recipe for your little one.

Recipe: Banana Puree

6. Chicken


If you are a non-vegetarian, you may be considering introducing chicken in your baby’s diet. You have a great reason too! Chicken contains high levels of tryptophan. And as we discussed, this amino acid will definitely make your baby sleepy post dinner! Needless to say, chicken will also take care of the protein requirements of your baby. It is a great idea to begin with shredded pieces and soup post the age of 8 months. Here is a recipe you can try to reap the double protein benefits of chicken and lentils. If your baby is old enough to self-feed, serve it in a bowl that has his favourite cartoon characters for maximum attention! 😉

7. Walnuts

Walnuts help the body in the production of serotonin – a chemical that soothes the brain and affects the mood of a person, making them more relaxed. This helps them sleep better and longer. Walnuts also contain melatonin which, as we saw, is great for napping. We recommend adding walnuts to your baby’s dinner after making sure there are no small pieces that can induce choking. Nuts are recommended for babies after they have crossed the one year milestone so as to minimise risks of allergies. Consult your paediatrician to discuss this further.

8. Chickpeas

Legumes, in general, are high in protein as well as tryptophan and hence a great sleep promoter. But apart from high protein content, chickpeas are also high in iron, potassium, fibre and vitamins K, C and B-6. This makes them a great, nutritious dinner food! It is advised to boil the beans and mash them to include in your baby’s diet. This makes it easy for them to consume as well as digest chickpeas.

9. Dairy Products

Finally, this one is no surprise – the milk before bed-time is certainly a great idea. But even apart from milk, other dairy products like cheese and paneer are also packed with tryptophan. Hence, something like a bowl of bananas mashed in milk an hour prior to bedtime will ensure your baby sleeps comfortably through the night. Also, if going for cheese, opt for swiss and cheddar as they have the maximum amount of tryptophan. You can also make the following recipe part of your baby’s dinner sometimes, for a special treat! It is tailored especially to a baby’s taste and digestive power.

Did You Know:

Certain foods like sugar and caffeine are stimulating in nature and hence the term ‘sugar rush’ is actually a real thing. It is therefore advisable not to include food items containing these properties right before bedtime. As a rule, go easy on the sugar you add to any baby food to also protect your child from the risk of tooth decay and developing unhealthy eating habits.

Tips While Feeding Your Baby to Ensure Sleep Throughout the Night

When babies first begin eating solid foods, they may experience discomfort that also affects their sleep. There can be several reasons for this. For one, their digestive system is still coping with the sudden change from liquids to solids. The timings between the feeding of solids and milk probably haven’t been properly worked out yet. Sometimes, the quality of the food matters more than the quantity consumed. Apart from this, there may be certain things in the breastfeeding routine of the baby that is holding up their sleep schedules. You can follow these following tips to induce a long night’s sleep in your baby!

  • While breastfeeding, keep the light turned off so as to make it clear that it’s not daytime. Alternatively, you can use a nightlight or dimmer switch. Use white noises (such as the hum of the fan) in the background which can help soothe the baby.
  • Ensure that you burp your baby after breastfeeding; otherwise, trapped air in his stomach can cause him to wake up.
  • Fixing a schedule for the baby’s eating and sleeping patterns is beneficial for the baby’s overall development. From the months of 4 to almost 18, it is ideal that bedtime should be between 7 to 8 pm, depending on where your baby is along the age line. Accordingly, dinner should be timed an hour or 1.5 hours before the baby’s bedtime.
  • It’s not just dinnertime that should be fixed. The baby’s daytime routine also plays an important role in getting him to sleep through the night. Schedule timings for his meals and naps as is age-appropriate. Eventually, this can help the baby naturally feel drowsy by his bedtime.
  • One of the main reasons for babies to wake in the middle of the night can be indigestion, because of which the child faces discomfort. ‘Tummy Time’ is gaining popularity among new parents now, owing to its several benefits, one of which is improving digestion. Lying on their tummy during the day (for example supervised floor play) provides the baby’s abdominal organs with a kind of ‘massage’, which also helps to relieve gas, and stimulate normal bowel movements. Keep in mind that this should not be done immediately after a meal. Also, while babies should compulsorily be made to sleep on their back only, tummy time during their waking hours can be of help.
  • It will take up to the age of 8-9 months for the baby to sleep through the entire night (meaning a consolidated 11-12 hours of sleep). To remove the association of feeding and sleeping in their brains, it is important to wean your baby off being fed to sleep. Start with moving his nursing at the beginning of his bedtime routine (rather than at the end). If he persists in waking, make it earlier. i.e right before/after dinnertime.
  • Remember to put your baby down to sleep when he is drowsy, but still awake. Rushing to get your baby to sleep right after nursing can prove to be problematic, as when the baby wakes up, he doesn’t know how to fall asleep on his own. Instead, when he is feeling calm and relaxed and is frequently closing his eyes, put him down to bed, and let him learn to put himself to sleep. Keep in mind that it may take a week or so for the baby to develop this habit.

Along with the baby’s food habits, something that can help your baby’s sleep routine is having your partner take charge as well. Dr. Diana Julian, Child Sleep Consultant, talks about how fathers can be the secret to a baby’s blissful sleep and various techniques they can incorporate. The father can feed the baby a bottle of breast milk during the night feedings, which makes for a dad-baby bonding session as well. Some mothers also claim that since their husbands took charge of rocking their baby to sleep when he wakes, it has proved to be a success! It could be because the baby associates feeding to the mother and expects to be fed when he wakes in the middle of the night and sees her. Try a role-reversal and see how that works out for you!

Is Your Diet Affecting Your Breastfed Baby’s Sleep?

When your breastfed baby refuses to sleep throughout the night, there are doubts that can creep into your mind regarding the effects of your breastmilk on your baby’s sleep. While there is no concrete research which state that elements of your diet can affect your breastmilk, there are certain tried-and-tested techniques by mothers which seem to alter their babies’ sleeping patterns.

The first thing to note is that breast milk is not made up of what you eat, but what is in your blood. So there is no particular list of foods that is applicable for mothers’ to avoid. However, if you seem to incorporate caffeine and sugar a little more than the healthy amount in your daily diet, cutting it down is ideal – it definitely will help to improve your overall health!

There are some mothers who have seen a slight improvement in their babies’ sleep patterns once their caffeine/sugar intake was reduced as well. Another possibility to consider is allergic reactions to some food nutrients that may be passed on through your breast milk to your baby. If symptoms like diarrhea, rashes, fussiness, gas, colic and so on keep your baby up at night, keep a track of what you eat and when these symptoms show up. If you see a link, reduce the suspected food and speak to your health-care provider about further remedies.

So moms, make sure you include these food items in your baby’s dinner to help him sleep uninterrupted. If your baby sleeps well, he will be happy and active the next morning, and so will you! Do you know of more recipes and sleep-promoting dinner foods for babies? Share them with other mommies by leaving a comment below.

Products for healthy children's sleep for children and adults

Probably, there are few such controversial topics for parents as the sleep and nutrition of preschool children. And if you combine them together, then any discussion becomes hotter than ever.

It would seem that what can be in common between sleep and nutrition? Meanwhile, they are inextricably linked. Who doesn’t know the feeling of heaviness in the stomach, from which you can’t fall asleep? Little kids know it too. And if you add the feeling of hunger in the middle of the night, indigestion or overexcitation caused by excess sugar, it becomes clear that the problem of eating before bed is not as simple as it seems at first glance.

Dr. Russell Rosenberg of the US National Sleep Foundation believes that in addition to nutritional value, every food we consume contains substances that have an exciting or calming effect on the nervous system. He named the basic rules for eating in the afternoon, and also identified key foods that improve sleep in different age categories.

  • The last meal should be 2 hours before bedtime, and for children under 1.5 years old, 1 hour before bedtime.
  • Dinner should be hearty, but not excessive.
  • Avoid foods that cause gas: cabbage, beans, muffins.
  • Sweet pastries, sugary drinks and fruits are not the best foods before bed. They sharply raise the level of glucose in the blood, which increases energy and activity. It is better to use protein components that will keep you feeling full for a long time.

Based on Dr. Rosenberg's recommendations, we've selected seven safe baby food ingredients that promote healthy sleep.

  1. Dairy products. They are rightfully considered the best products for good sleep at any age. The fact is that milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that causes drowsiness. Sugar makes tryptophan too available, which contributes to arousal, but unsweetened dairy products supply this amino acid gradually and this reaction does not occur. In addition, milk protein is absorbed much better in the form of fermented milk products.
  2. Warm milk is suitable for older children. In addition to the direct impact due to the same tryptophan, a warm liquid has an additional calming effect.
  3. Jasmine rice with a high glycemic index. It is digested more slowly than usual, which keeps blood glucose levels constant. In 2007, an article appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proving that a dinner with jasmine rice cuts the time it takes to fall asleep by half.
  4. Products containing complex carbohydrates: cereals (except semolina) and whole grain flour baked goods. Eating these foods before bed keeps you feeling full longer without causing stomach heaviness or gas.
  5. Bananas. They contain natural relaxing components magnesium and potassium, as well as complex carbohydrates.
  6. Turkey meat. Like any high-protein sleep product, turkey meat contains tryptophan. Sometimes excess protein can cause indigestion in children. To avoid this, use baking instead of boiling - this method of cooking converts the protein into a more digestible form. In addition, turkey meat has a low risk of developing an allergic reaction compared to other poultry.
  7. Herbal tea. If the child is already a year old and does not suffer from allergies, you can brew him a weak herbal tea from chamomile, mint, lemon balm, fennel and other herbs. Here is a tea recipe for good sleep from Margarita Vasilyeva, mother of four children:

    • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
    • 1 tablespoon raspberry leaves
    • 1 tablespoon blackcurrant leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers
    • Pour everything with 4 cups of hot water (not boiling water), let cool completely and strain. Drink one cup 30-40 minutes before bedtime. Store leftover tea in the refrigerator.

As you can see, products for good sleep are available and varied. You can make them a family habit, such as "kefir and a bun for dinner," or just use it according to your mood. The main thing to remember is that food, like sleep, should be enjoyable.

How to eat to get good sleep: a list of the best foods for insomnia |

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A strong supper before going to bed has never brought anyone to good, but you can have a light snack. A glass of milk (warm) is also good


If you can't fall asleep for a long time, and while you tossed and turned in bed, a feeling of hunger came to you and now insomnia has only intensified, firstly, stop torturing yourself with hunger. Second, go to the refrigerator. Third, read our nutritionists' tips to find out which foods will help you get rid of insomnia and help you fall asleep better.

The main rule to follow when you decide to eat at night looking for a sound and healthy sleep is not to overeat, but arrange yourself a small "night light".

“Night light” and “eat at night” are different things, says dietitian Galina Bartashevich. - "Nightlight" is the preparation of the body for sleep, so as not to fall asleep hungry. But just eat at night - these are extra calories that will be deposited on the stomach with a lifeline. It's easy to see the border. It's harder not to cross. One of the basic rules is that the volume of food should not be more than 100 ml.

Galina Bartashevich — gastroenterologist of the highest category, pediatric gastroenterologist, nutritionist, PhD, work experience — more than 30 years.

A couple of sandwiches is too much. Sandwiches are carbohydrates that the body will have to break down and digest. There will be tension in both gastric juice and bile secretion.

— People who used up their energy but didn't make up for it in time with food are usually drawn to the night watch, — says Galina Bartashevich. - As a result, the body demands to return what was spent, and the person, not really thinking about the consequences, tries to satisfy his hunger faster. In the course are cakes, coffee, fruits, chocolate - everything that comes to hand. As a result, poor-quality sleep, lack of appetite in the morning and jet lag in general.

In addition, you need to observe the so-called sleep hygiene - these are simple rules that you need to follow in order to get enough sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time, limit physical activity at least an hour before bedtime, do not drink alcohol, tea or coffee a couple of hours before bedtime.

“Before going to bed, do not engage in mental activities that require concentration, do not work in bed, limit the use of gadgets,” says neurologist Anastasia Klimenko. - Don't smoke before bed. Ventilate the room: lowering the temperature and fresh air will help you fall asleep. The room should be dark, this is necessary for better production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.

Anastasia Klimenko — neurologist of the first qualification category, candidate of medical sciences.

Experts also advise going to bed before 11 pm, because from 10-11 pm we produce the natural sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin performs many important functions, including regulating the timing and quality of sleep. The more this hormone in the blood, the faster we fall asleep and sleep better. Its production, like many other processes in the body, is tied to the time of day. The peak is from midnight to 4 am. At this time, the concentration of melatonin in the blood is 30 times higher than during the day. Unless, of course, we are surrounded by pitch darkness - melatonin is distinguished by a rare photophobia. In general, you probably already guessed that products containing melatonin will help us sleep better. But it's not just him. So it's time to take a closer look at the sleepy grocery basket.

— Bananas are well known for being rich in potassium and also being an affordable source of vitamin B6, says Galina Bartashevich. - Vitamin B6 is necessary for the synthesis of melatonin, which helps regulate sleep phases. Potassium acts as a muscle relaxant and gently prepares the body for sleep. Bananas also contain tryptophan, a sleep-inducing substance.

In addition, bananas (thanks to the same tryptophan) stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for a good mood and helping to relax. Bananas should be eaten no later than an hour before bedtime. But don't get carried away. One banana will be enough.

That's why bananas help us fall asleep


Scientists from the US National Sleep Foundation conducted a study and came to the conclusion that almonds, both nuts and almond oil, will help overcome insomnia. And all thanks to the magnesium contained in almonds. Magnesium deficiency is often observed in insomnia.

- The study confirmed that the use of almond oil intranasally for 30 days in a row improves the functioning of the nervous system, favorably affects the mechanisms of falling asleep and sleep, scientists said in the results of the study.

Experts advise putting two drops of almond oil in your nose before going to bed, but if this method does not suit you, you can eat 10 almonds daily.

When it comes to improving sleep, fish is useful for its vitamin B6. It is necessary for the synthesis of the same melatonin in the body. Dishes from tuna, salmon, halibut, eaten before bedtime, will help to enrich the blood with vitamin B6, which ultimately will help make our sleep calm and of high quality.

The more vitamin B6 in fish, the more beneficial it is for sleep


A little warm milk and sleep will come by itself. This grandma's recipe really works. Milk contains a sufficient amount of the same tryptophan, an amino acid necessary for the production of melatonin. In addition, milk is rich in casein, a protein that is slowly absorbed and is responsible for building muscle fibers during sleep. If you don’t want to drink just warm milk, prepare yourself a small portion of oatmeal mash. Here you have calcium with magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium - substances that contribute to good sleep. Just do not overdo it with sweet additives. A large amount of sugar can negatively affect sleep.

You can also afford some yogurt. It contains a decent amount of beneficial bacteria and acids that improve the functioning of the digestive system and prevent the reproduction of harmful microorganisms in the microflora. In addition, kefir helps relieve tension and has a calming effect on both the muscular and nervous systems. Everything you need to relax and fall asleep faster. But there is one exception. Experts do not recommend drinking kefir at night for people with chronic digestive disorders. Because by the evening the enzymatic abilities of the body are reduced, and with deviations in the gastrointestinal tract, digestion will turn into a test with excessive loads. Also, night kefir is not recommended for people with gastritis, prone to migraines and headaches. Yes, and people without pathologies are better not to drink kefir in glasses.

Useful properties of milk for sound sleep


— The volume should not exceed 100 milliliters, says Galina Bartashevich. This will give you a feeling of fullness for an hour. Enough to get a good and comfortable sleep without stretching the bladder. And no biscuits or sandwiches. Firstly, these are carbohydrates, and secondly, a sandwich implies something on top. If it's oil, try to prove that you're eating oil and not trans fats. If it's cheese, it's high-calorie. There will be tension in the gastric juice and bile secretion.

The natural sugar in honey slightly increases insulin levels, which allows tryptophan to better penetrate the brain and promote good sleep. If you want to try honey to improve sleep, the method is quite simple. About half an hour before going to bed, eat one teaspoon of honey. Do this for a week to see how it affects you. If you do not feel any result, increase the dose to two teaspoons, or even a full tablespoon, to see the result.

Five foods to help beat insomnia


Whatever you try to eat to improve sleep, do not forget that the main thing is to avoid fatty foods, fast food and caffeine before bedtime. These foods limit the oxygen supply to the brain, so you won't get enough sleep.

Scientists from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted an experiment in which 13 men and 13 women spent five nights in a sleep lab. They went to bed at 10:00 pm and got up at 7:00 am.

For the first four days, participants followed a strict diet. Their diet included nuts, vegetables, cereals, there were practically no fatty and sweet foods. But the fifth day was free: the subjects could eat any food and not limit themselves in any way. They ate chocolate, fast food, and fatty foods.

As a result, the scientists came to the following conclusions.

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