Best nutrients and drinks to help you sleep well

Heather Campbell
 min read

In this article, we discuss what are the best nutrients and drinks to help you sleep well:

  • favor sweet and fast carbohydrates in the evening,
  • avoid a protein-rich dinner, caffeine, or alcohol, and
  • have a nice cup of tea instead.

Best nutrients and drinks to help you sleep wellDifficult digestion, a bloated stomach, or acid reflux can hinder sleep. For example, choosing certain foods according to your tolerances is vital.

Your body needs to be in peace to have a peaceful night.

In addition to the digestive tips to sleep well in this article, you may also be interested in these sleep tips:

While this article focuses on nutrients and drinks, it is also important to pay attention to the quality of your bed, especially if you’re overweight.

To that end, be sure to read these reviews of top bed frames for plus-size sleepers.

Best nutrients and drinks to help you sleep well: Introduction

This blog post will give you all the information you need to rebalance your diet and, as a result, rebalance your nights.

First of all, it’s useful to know what food offers to our bodies. It provides us with three types of nutrients:

  • proteins
  • carbohydrates
  • lipids


There are two types of carbohydrates, according to their assimilation speed. There are carbohydrates said to be fast (sweet-tasting foods) or slow (bread, cereals).

They are the best energy compounds in your diet because they are directly used by the body. However, the rise in blood sugar levels above a specific value creates sleepiness. Therefore, your dinner should be richer in sugars than your lunch.

For breakfast, the situation is different. You just woke up from a 7 hour or more fast, so you need sugars.

Prefer slow sugars (bread, cereals) over fast sugars. This is because slow sugars allow you to get through the morning. They are released slowly into the body, so you feel full for a longer time.

Fast sugars can lead to a mid-morning hypoglycemic attack.

Sugars should be combined with proteins, especially for our muscles and fats. Compared to muscle tissue, fats are more energetic and oriented towards storage than immediate use.


Proteins are more complex to digest.

They cause more digestive work, which is associated with significant heat production.

As a result, proteins do not help you fall asleep.

It’s better to take them in the morning or at noon, and not take too much in the evening.

In addition to what you eat, the food intake itself interacts with sleep. So if you had too much for dinner, your digestion is automatically slowed down. It will keep you awake at night.

If dinner is too light and not rich enough in sugars, hunger may wake you up. It’s all about balance.

For mid-day sleepiness, food does not play a significant role. However, some people don’t eat much because they are afraid of the 2 o’clock rush.

Not eating makes this feeling of fatigue worse. It is better to eat a balanced meal and take a 10-15 minute nap if you want to function well in the afternoon.

Drink and/or sleep

Drinks shape our sleep, whether they are stimulating (coffee, tea, or soda), soothing (valerian, linden, or chamomile tea), or intoxicating (alcohol).

The fundamental energy resource in your body is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When ATP is used, adenosine is released. It will bind to neuronal receptors to decrease their activity and put them to sleep.

Caffeine consumption

The caffeine in drinks blocks the action of adenosine on our neurons. As a result, we won’t fall asleep for a few hours.

The worldwide consumption of caffeine is enormous. This clearly shows a widespread need to fight against the sleep of our bodies. Meaning that our social rhythms are often incompatible with our spontaneous needs for sleep.

The stimulating effect of caffeine strongly depends on the absorbed amount reaching your brain, as well as the personal amount of adenosine receptors.

In short: we have variable sensitivity to the action of caffeine. Some people are very sensitive to it and should withhold from drinking coffee, tea, or cola after 2 p.m. At least not if they want to avoid a sleepless night.

Others can drink espresso before going to sleep without influencing their time to sleep. However, your body can get addicted to caffeine. So regular consumption of coffee, tea, or energy drinks will naturally decrease your sensitivity to it.

The caffeine in a cup of tea is absorbed more slowly than that in coffee. This gives the impression of less stimulation.

You may be surprised to hear that caffeine is also found in chocolate. If you refuse a cup of coffee but eat a bar of chocolate, you are taking the same dose of caffeine.

At high doses, caffeine has many side effects. Right below, you’ll find the most common side effects of caffeine on a few body functions:

  • neurological:
    • insomnia
    • anxiety
  • digestive:
    • stomach pain
    • acid reflux
  • cardiac:
    • tachycardia
    • irregular heartbeat

An evening tea

An evening cup of tea is beneficial in a few ways.

First of all by its nature, since it’s often made from sedative plants. The relaxing ritual of setting a cup of tea is also an underestimated benefit.

Patiently waiting for the water to boil, allowing the herbs to release their flavors, and then taking small sips. If you’re a tea enthusiast, you know exactly what I mean.


Let’s be real: alcohol is a fake sleeping pill. It’s taken by some insomniacs because it makes them fall asleep faster. But at high doses, it can even cause an ethyl coma.

But sleep under alcohol is terrible sleep. The night is fragmented by many micro-awakenings, accompanied by a more significant number of apneas.

Your sleep is heavier when you drink alcohol, and your snoring increases significantly. If you sleepwalk, alcohol can make it more violent.

When you go to a party, you ignore all these suggestions: you have a big dinner with aperitif, wine, coffee, dessert, and a shifted bedtime. But you should know that the price you pay is a brutal wake-up call the next day.

Your only savior will be a nap and perhaps some painkillers against the other side effects…

Best nutrients and drinks to help you sleep well: Conclusion

The best nutrients and drinks to help you sleep well are fast and sweet carbohydrates, since they give you an instant sugar uptick which induces sleep.

Next, you want to avoid a dinner that’s very rich in proteins since our body has more difficulty to digest these which will make it harder to fall asleep.

Finally, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, and have a cup of sedative tea instead that will help you relax and get ready for bed.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More