Foods that improve sleep quality according to science

Sleeping better is a goal for many people who daily experience how a bad rest does not allow them to perform in optimal conditions the next day. The pharmaceutical industry strives to bring out new products that improve this circumstance, but it has not been proven that they are effective nor are the long-term side effects of their continued use.

However, everyone has at their fingertips foods that can improve the quality of sleep without the need for medication. On this website about rest you can also find tips to improve night sleep, we are going to indicate the foods that scientific studies have qualified as adequate for a better quality of sleep.


It is a fruit rich in tryptophan , an essential amino acid for the formation of the main hormones involved in sleep: serotonin and melatonin, and therefore facilitate sleep. As indicated by Dr. Teresa Canet Sanz, from the clinical neurophysiology service of the Hospital Virgen de los Lirios in Alcoy, Alicante, in a supplement to the Journal of Neurology called Healthy sleep: evidence and guidelines

of action, “serotonin is the main hormone involved in sleep regulation […] and melatonin induces and maintains sleep”. His recommendation is to eat this fruit in the afternoon and combine it with other foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamin B because they are muscle relaxants necessary for the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin and melatonin in the brain; in addition to ingesting carbohydrates that are the triggers of the insulin secretion response that improves the bioavailability of tryptophan in the central nervous system.

Let’s see, therefore, foods included in the first group.


Actually, all fatty fish would come in here. When talking about fatty fish, reference is made to blue fish and this group includes anchovies, anchovies, tuna, bonito, mackerel, tuna, dogfish, mackerel, lamprey, pomfret, swordfish , salmon and sardine.

In a specific study on the effects of fatty fish on sleep published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and carried out on ninety-five men over three weeks, it was concluded that “fish consumption appeared to have a positive impact on sleep in general and also in the daily functioning” of the study subjects and this positive effect was attributed to the high content of the fish used in the study, salmon , in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D.


In general, we would be talking about any dry fruit in its natural state ., that is, without going through the salting process like most of those that we can find in supermarkets. But, specifically, walnuts are mentioned profusely when it comes to talking about sleep quality. The avant-garde American doctor T. Colin Campbell indicated a few years ago that consuming nuts is beneficial for health. In the particularity of sleep, we know that in each gram of this nut there are 3.5 nanograms of melatonin and that eating about seven nuts a day would be enough to obtain all the benefits of this fruit, according to Dr. Joe Vinson, director of a study. focused on hard-shelled fruits and which was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2011. In addition, said dried fruit contains vitamins B and C and omega-3 fatty acids.

Now let’s see some foods included in the second group, that of carbohydrates.


Milk and natural yoghurts, better unsweetened and without fruit (you can add them later at home) are part of the foods rich in carbohydrates and are slowly absorbed , which is important. This type of carbohydrates reinforce the absorption of the tryptophan that we mentioned before.

Therefore, you have to stay away from carbohydrates such as white bread, cakes or pasta and opt for slow carbohydrates such as dairy products, whole wheat bread, legumes, vegetables or some fruits such as strawberries and berries.

In short, we have it easy since numerous scientific studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet is the one that provides more favorable sleep patterns.

Recommendations to sleep well

  1. Lunch and dinner always at the same time
  2. Go to bed two hours after dinner, not before.
  3. Do exercise
  4. Avoid foods rich in amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine late at night: red meat, eggs, ham, kiwi and oranges.
  5. Moderate the consumption of coffee, tea and chocolate.
  6. Avoid foods that cause gas, heartburn or reflux.
  7. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.