Sleep better tonight: Nutrition for better sleep and insomnia (part 1)

Sleep better tonight: Nutrition for better sleep and insomnia (part 1)


Did you know that sleeping better is one of the most underrated as well as the easiest and most simple things you CAN do to improve your health fast – starting today?

Most people with sleeping difficulties or insomnia usually have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep throughout the night, or they wake up too early in the morning and can’t go back to sleep. Many experience the full set of sleep disturbances, consequently they are worn out, have no energy and become despondent. Are you one of them?

Make no mistake: there is no way to be and stay healthy without proper sleep, and there is no substitute for it. Having seen many fantastic outcomes of improved sleep in my practice, I’d like to share with you the most important, simple and common sense steps you can do right now to get sounder and more restful sleep tonight.

To make it more practical and easier to apply, I divided the ‘how to sleep better’ information and specific steps into three parts/ posts. In this post (part one), I’m presenting my top nutrition recommendations related to falling asleep easier and faster, sleeping longer and waking up refreshed and rested tomorrow.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep is the body’s healing and repair time in the body’s 24-hour cycle. This includes repairing damaged tissues, performing physical and emotional detox, recharging the energy, dealing with inflammation, and consolidating memories and learnings from the day.

The optimal time to sleep for repair and regeneration is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Physical repairs mostly take place when we are asleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. After 2 a.m. the repair and restoration processes are more focused on mental renewal, which lasts until you awaken.

Therefore going to sleep late (i.e. after 10.30 p.m.), even if you end up sleeping for the same length of time, will limit the benefits and effects of sleep, as you’ll not be able to fully recharge and recuperate overnight. When you repeat this pattern over and over for a period of time you create a burden on the body, leaving you feeling constantly tired, anxious, depressed, stressed and unwell.

Nutrition for better sleep

Nutrition and sleep are both closely linked to achieving health and wellbeing. My clinical experience as well as many research studies have shown that your sleep may impact what you eat. By sleeping at least 7 hours per night, you’ll be less likely to crave coffee, sweets, salty or fatty junk foods.

You might’ve heard the advice that if you want to sleep better, you should stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime. For some people this is true, but not if you have adrenal fatigue. For you, having a small snack just before bed can make a huge difference to your sleep quality as it helps to sustain the body’s night time blood sugar reserves.

By having small amounts of slow-burning foods before bed, your blood sugar won’t drop off too low during the night, helping you to sleep better. You’ll feel more alert and rested throughout the following day, too, and your blood sugar levels will stay more balanced preventing food cravings and irritability. This highly effective strategy truly helps many people with adrenal fatigue to sleep more soundly.

Adding snacks is very helpful but it’s only a temporary solution undertaken whilst restoring the adrenal function so your adrenals are healthy enough to control your blood sugar effectively through the night. Please contact me if you need help with restoring your adrenal function.


 Eat at regular intervals throughout the day and evening

  • Skipping meals or having too few carbohydrates (such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes) increases cortisol secretion, meaning more stress. In particular, missing breakfast can increase cortisol for the rest of the day as well as at night. Aim to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up to replenish your blood sugar reserves.
  • A good breakfast would be a 2-3 egg omelette (protein) cooked with organic butter (fat) with added vegetables and greens (carbohydrates). You can also add a few small pieces of leftover chicken or fish for an additional protein boost.

Avoid consuming stimulants such as caffeine, sugar or nicotine after lunch

  • These substances are stimulating to the adrenals and will increase cortisol secretion, meaning more stress for the body and mind. When you eat sweets after dinner, your blood sugar levels will elevate. This will  likely interfere with sleep and your mood, increasing your chances of feeling anxious, restless, irritated, negative or worried

Don’t go to bed hungry, have specific sleep promoting snacks before bed

  • Going to bed hungry may result in low blood sugar, triggering the cortisol release that will wake you up. Having a small snack before bed is a great strategy to help maintain your blood sugar level longer at night, thus preventing frequent awakenings.


  •  Rice: 1-2 tablespoon of well-cooked white rice with full-cream coconut milk or cream sprinkled with cinnamon (it helps to regulate blood glucose).
  • Sweet potato: 1-2 tablespoons of room temperature (baked or boiled) sweet potato (e.g. dinner leftovers) with a small amount of organic butter blended in.
  • Nut butter: 1-2 teaspoons of good quality nut butter (e.g. almond) on a small slice of toasted gluten-free bread or with seed / gluten-free crackers.

Useful tip: It’s handy to keep snacks next to your bed to eat in the middle of the night, if needed. This way you don’t have to get up if blood sugar levels drop at night, which can happen a number of times and trigger the body to wake up suddenly. Each time you wake up, have another light snack.

Free guide: Get a Good Night’s Sleep Tonight! 
What you CAN do today to fall asleep easier, sleep longer and wake up rested and refreshed, a step-by-step guide

Having seen many fantastic outcomes of improving sleep in my practice, I was compelled to write a short guide to give you the most important, simplest and common sense steps you can do right now to get sounder and more restful sleep tonight. The post above covering the importance of nutrition for sleeping better, is one of the abbreviated chapters of the Get a Good Night’s Sleep Tonight! Free Guide. sleep free guide

What will you gain from this guide?

If you’re currently suffering from insomnia and/ or sleep difficulties, especially if they are related to adrenal fatigue, this guide will provide you with what you need to do to sleep better. I’ve helped many of my clients to sleep well again utilising the following three keys outlined in the guide:

  • Key #1: Nutrition for better sleep
  • Key #2: Sleep patterns reset
  • Key #3: Daily sleep promoting activities

Your benefits of applying the 3 keys will include:

  • Sounder and uninterrupted sleep and rest
  • More energy and vitality, feeling refreshed and relaxed
  • Clearer thinking, feeling calmer and less stressed

Download the Get a Good Night’s Sleep Tonight! Free Guide here and start sleeping better tonight!


Sleeping better is one of the most underrated as well as the easiest and most simple things you can do to improve your health – fast. My clinical experience shows that sleep is an extremely effective treatment often on its own; it simply trumps many other approaches and efforts. When people start to sleep better, they start to heal. Therefore sleeping better is one of the first things to address in most situations.

Continue reading here: Sleep better tonight: Sleep patterns reset (part 2)

Please share your tips and experiences to effectively deal with insomnia in comments below. Thank you!

Good health and blessings

Joanna Sochan
Adrenal Fatigue and Digestive Health Expert
Naturopath || Herbalist || Nutritionist || Reiki Practitioner

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  1. Pauline October 26, 2016 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Would a small amount of almond milk be suitable for a night time snack?

    • Joanna Sochan October 26, 2016 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      Yes it would (it contains mainly protein and fat) although adding a half of banana (carbs) would make it more effective for most people.

  2. Brad Mathers February 7, 2017 at 9:36 am - Reply

    I’ve tried the rice and sweet potato before bed, but never the nut butter! Will have to give that a whirl next time I’m tired before sleeping. Does the taste take some getting used to?

    • Joanna Sochan February 7, 2017 at 9:54 am - Reply

      Most nut butters taste really nice:) look for organic varieties and try a few to find your favourite(s)! Examples include: almond butter, almond + chia, hazelnut, cashews, tahini (sesame butter). Let me know how you go!

      PS. I have more examples of good snacks and sleep promoting nutrients in my eBook “Sleep better Tonight” available in my online shop.

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