Foods to Improve Sleep

Do you find it hard to fit in the Zzzzz.... Do you slip power nap mid day or keep waking up at 3am..... maybe your diet is missing something key?

Why can you not sleep?

There are a number of factors that could contribute to poor sleep, these include key Hormones and Neurotransmitters that regulate the body's internal clock. The second factor could be Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies. We rely so much on a variety of these to help maintain a healthy sleep pattern.

1) Hormones & Neurotransmitters

The four major neurotransmitters that regulate mood are Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA and Norepinephrine. When these work properly, your nervous system has natural checks and balances in the form of inhibitory (calming) and excitatory (stimulating) neurotransmitters.

Along side this Melatonin is an important hormone which regulates our night and day cycle.

2) Vitamin & Minerals

  • Magnesium Deficiency - can cause insomnia

  • Low Potassium - difficulty staying asleep

  • Vitamin D deficiency - excessive daytime sleepiness

How does Magnesium help your body and brain relax?

So Magnesium works by aiding the activation of your neurotransmitters (chemicals that send messages around the brain). These neurotransmitters are responsible for calming the body and the mind.

On a chemical level, magnesium aids this process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed.

It also regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in your body.


Melatonin's main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. It is often also know to be the body's natural pacemaker.

It plays an instrumental role in signalling time of day and time of year, helping to regulate your body's internal clock. When its time to go to sleep your melatonin levels decrease as light decreases. This sends signals to the body to prepare for waking up. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin.

Foods Sources of Magnesium

- Pumpkin seeds/ Almonds / Cashews

- Dark Green Veggies - Broccoli, Spinach, Green beans

- Legumes - Chickpeas, Lentils, Peas

- Whole-grains - Quinoa etc

- Bananas

Food sources of Potassium

- Coconut Water - Hydration is KEY - loss of fluids = low potassium

- Bananas

- Leafy Greens

- Edamame Beans

- Watermelon

Food Sources of Vitamin D - * See my post on Vitamin D deficieny

- Oily Fish

- Egg Yolks

- Fortified Foods

After saying the above, it is also not all reliant on diet. Keeping a good routine before bed is a go to for me and I can follow with a post on that soon! But good exercise daily, hydration and 1/2 hour no screens before bed helps me relax massively.

Email/ DM me for any more questions

J x

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