Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep is a common occurrence for seniors. The ability to easily fall asleep can be partially dependant on your diet. Here are some suggested foods to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Warm Milk

This is a common go-to for many people that have trouble sleeping. Why? One reason is that milk is high in calcium, which encourages sleep. Also, milk contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan which produces a relaxing chemical called serotonin. L-tryptophan is the famous ‘sleeping agent’ found in turkey. So, if you don’t have turkey you can always settle for some warm milk.


Bread is high in carbohydrates which generates insulin production. This in turn, accelerates the discharge of serotonin and tryptophan which both serve to induce sleep. A similar result can be found from pasta or rice, but these may be a little heavy for a pre-bedtime snack.


Bananas are loaded with potassium and magnesium, both are excellent for relaxing muscles. L-tryptophan is also present in bananas which turns to serotonin and melatonin, two neurotransmitters that promote relaxation.


Another fruit that can help you get some zzz’s is cherries. Cherries are one of the best sources of melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for controlling your inner clock, which is in charge of regulating sleep.  Cherries can be effective for generating sleep, eat some about an hour before your intended bedtime.


Oatmeal can also help you sleep by causing a spike in blood sugar, leading to insulin production, leading to sleep inducing chemicals being produced in the brain.

Other Sleep Aids


Besides eating sleep-inducing foods, there are also some other practices you might try:

  • Maintain a regular bedtime routine
  • Avoid afternoon naps
  • Take a hot bath
  • Drink less fluid close to bedtime
  • Don’t drink alcohol close to bedtime
  • Read before bed

Eating the right foods before bed and maintaining a regular routine leading up to a consistent bed time, can really help with falling asleep, and sleeping through the night.