Sleepy foods, yes please

Sleepy foods, yes please 

The foods we eat can have an impact on sleep. I thought this week I would briefly look at a few of the key nutrients, which play a role in sleep.  ‘Sleepy foods’ have a positive influence on sleep and I encourage everyone to have a balanced diet that includes these nutrients. For specific dietary advice I would encourage you to seek professional help from an Accredited Dietician.


This is an amino acid that is found in most foods rich in protein and some plants. Once our body has metabolised tryptophan, it is converted into melatonin and serotonin. These two hormones regulate our sleep/ wake cycles. Eating tryptophan shortens the time taken to fall asleep and lengthens sleep duration.

Tryptophan rich foods

  • Turkey/ poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Oats


This is a muscle relaxant and helps our bodies to physically relax.

         Magnesium rich foods

  • Bananas
  • Brown rice
  • Avocado
  • Leafy greens
  • Potato


Zinc is needed for the proper growth and maintenance of the human body. In particular zinc plays an important role in the quality and quantity of sleep we have.

         Zinc rich foods

  • Red meat
  • Shellfish
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds


Iron is vital to the transport of oxygen throughout the body; it is also a key element in a number of cell functions and cell growth. Like zinc, iron plays an important role in the quality and quantity of sleep we have.

         Iron rich foods

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Beans
  • Iron fortified cereal
  • Red meat
  • Dried fruit

These are not the only nutrients that play a role in our sleep but are worth considering when you are looking at your child’s eating patterns. There is so much information available to us that it can become overwhelming.

One final thought I will share with you is that introducing solids does not improve sleep in the short term.  When you are introducing solids expect some disturbances in your child’s sleep patterns. This should only be temporary or just a few weeks so keep this in mind when you are introducing solids. Book a  consultation for your child in the comfort of your own home.