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Trouble sleeping? Eating the right foods can help you

More than you might expect, nutrition plays an important role in supporting restful sleep and a balanced mood. Eating regularly throughout the day, for example, will help you regulate circadian rhythms to support daytime alertness and nighttime sleep. And a healthy balanced diet aids the body’s ability to make the sleep–promoting serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin. Adequate calcium, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins are all important nutrients for sleep enhancement, and here’s where you’ll find them: 

Calcium – Milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified dairy alternatives, almonds, almond butter, artichokes, broccoli, kale, collards, turnip greens, sesame seeds, black strap molasses

Magnesium – Spinach, Swiss chard, tofu, almonds, almond butter, pumpkin seeds, legumes, ground flax seed, peanut butter, quinoa, edamame, brown rice, sweet potato, broccoli

Iron – Animal meats, egg yolks, legumes, nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables

B vitamins 

  • Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts 
  • B12 – animal protein and dairy products 

Some sleep disrupters … 

Alcohol disrupts sleep quality and duration.
Caffeine, from coffee, soda, energy drinks, and some sports drinks, is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Tea and chocolate contain similar stimulating compounds.

And sleep enhancers … 

Tryptophan is an amino acid that may promote sleep and calm your mood. Tryptophan is converted in the brain to serotonin, associated with mood stability, and into the sleep hormone melatonin. To ensure that tryptophan passes through the blood brain barrier, include a carbohydrate-rich food with these tryptophan-rich foods:

  • Milk and dairy products 
  • Turkey, chicken, eggs 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Bananas 
  • Fish 
  • Spinach 
  • Nuts and peanuts 
  • Pumpkin and sesame seeds 
  • Dates, figs and honey 
  • Brown rice 
  • Soy 
  • Legumes

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