By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Monday, April 5, 2021


4 foods that support a good night's sleep

Food is a major contributor that can either support good sleep ... or disrupts our peaceful zzz’s that many of us don’t even think about. What you choose to eat for dinner, or that late night snack, can either help or halt the process of how you hit the hay.

Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin B6, which boosts melatonin, the hormone that is helpful in falling asleep. For quick cooking, just pop them in the microwave, then take note on how quickly you drift off once your head hits the pillow.

RECIPE: Mexican-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Cottage Cheese

Don’t count sheep, eat cottage cheese. Cottage cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is needed for the sleep inducing hormone, serotonin. Plus, this dairy option is rich in a slow-releasing protein, called casein, that wards off hunger, keeping you sound asleep all night long.


Cover up with your comforter after enjoying this sleep-inducing produce pick. Kiwifruits are rich in folate, which studies have shown that a deficiency in this nutrient may lead to insomnia. Sweet dreams are near after eating this naturally sweetened fruit.

RECIPE: Kiwifruit Salad with Maple-Lime Dressing


Move over chips, there’s something else to crunch on before drifting off to dreamland. Almonds contain both calcium and magnesium, the perfect duo to calm the body and relax our muscles.

Foods that don't support good sleep include:

  • Sugary treats – Late night snacking on high-sugary foods lead to increased cortisol levels, or the stress hormone which is not conducive to good sleep.
  • High-fat foods – These foods take longer to digest, so your body can’t enter relax mode until then. In addition, bloating and indigestion are often associated with these meals.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol causes dehydration, which can lead to muscle cramping in the middle of night. Extra liquid can also lead to a midnight bathroom break.

Now that you know a few foods that help support shut eye, it’s time to take ownership of your sleep. Eat right, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

paigePaige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Ames Hy-Vee on Lincoln Way.