Can diet impact sleep quality?


Yes, diet can indeed impact sleep quality. discusses the role of different foods in affecting neurotransmitter levels that influence sleep. For instance, foods rich in tryptophan, like turkey, milk, oats, cheese, nuts, seeds, bread, chocolate, and some fruits, can lead to increases in the amount of serotonin available, which in turn may lead to feelings of sleepiness and relaxation 1.

Moreover, meal timings and food types can affect alertness and wakefulness. For example, fasting tends to be associated with alertness, while fed states, especially after carbohydrate-rich meals, are generally associated with relaxation and sleepiness 2 3. Specifically, mentions that he personally finds carbohydrate-rich meals, like pasta or rice, consumed in the evening help increase serotonin for sleep 4. Additionally, it's noted that overeating any food can lead to sleepiness due to blood being diverted to the gut 2.

Boosting Serotonin

Andrew discusses how certain foods enriched in tryptophan can lead to net increases in the amount of serotonin available in the brain and body. He mentions foods like turkey, milk, oats, cheese, nuts, seeds, bread, chocolate, and fruits like bananas and apples as sources of tryptophan.

Huberman Lab

Optimize & Control Your Brain Chemistry to Improve Health & Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #80

It's important to understand that while the consumption of certain foods can influence neurotransmitter levels, the pathway from food ingestion to changes in neurotransmitter levels involves many factors, such as enzymes and biochemical pathways that regulate the conversion of food precursors into neurotransmitters. Thus, a simple cause-and-effect relationship between certain foods and sleep quality is not always straightforward 2.