Close up of a handful of pistachios on a white backgroundYour diet can have a big impact on how well you sleep. We have already focused on questions about how mucus-causing foods might lead to more snoring and how caffeine can disrupt your sleep for hours.

But there are also foods that can have a powerful impact on helping you sleep. Here’s a guide for picking foods that will help you get a better night’s sleep.

Vitamin B6

Melatonin is an important hormone in helping you sleep. It’s a regulator in  your sleep and wake cycles, and vitamin B6 can help your body make more of it, so you sleep more. Foods high in vitamin B6 include sunflower seeds, pistachios, tuna, chicken, and pork.


Tryptophan is the hormone that gained notoriety when it was blamed for everyone dozing off on Thanksgiving. Although it turns out the effects were exaggerated, tryptophan really can make you sleepy, since it’s a precursor to serotonin, and elevated serotonin levels help you sleep. There are many foods that are high in tryptophan, including tofu, cheese, oats, beans, lentils, and, yes, turkey.

Lettuce Opium

Lettuce opium, lactucarium, was used by many ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians for its sedative as well as painkilling properties. You can introduce a natural, safe, and effective amount of lactucarium into your system by eating a nice bowl of lettuce in the evening. Some people suggest that if you don’t like the thought of eating a salad before bed, you can brew yourself a cup of lettuce tea (though I’ll probably stick with peppermint or chamomile).

Filling Foods

Another important thing to consider about getting good sleep is making sure your body has enough nutrients to get through the night. Although you don’t want to make yourself overly full, you want to eat a good amount of foods that are slow to digest and can give you a good amount of energy all night. These include whole grains, protein-rich foods, and heart-healthy fats.

Still not Sleeping?

If  you try adding some of these foods to your evening routine but experience little to no benefit, you may have a serious problem that you’re not aware of. Sleep apnea is a common condition in which you are unable to sleep through the night because your airway collapses, closing off your air supply. Most people with this condition are undiagnosed, and one of the most common symptoms is just daytime sleepiness. If you feel like you can’t get enough sleep, no matter what you try, this may be your problem.

To learn more about sleep apnea in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today.