Which dietary modifications are used in the treatment of insomnia?

Updated: Sep 11, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Dietary measures in patients with insomnia are matters of timing and avoidance. The following recommendations may be useful:

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening, since the stimulant activity of adenosine antagonism can promote hyperarousal

  • Avoid alcohol in the evening, since this can worsen sleep-disordered breathing leading to frequent arousals; furthermore, while alcohol promotes sleep early in the night, it leads to more sleep disruption later in the evening

  • Avoid large meals near bedtime, particularly with gastroesophageal reflux disease or delayed gastric emptying.

Exercise in the late afternoon or early evening (at least 6 hours before bedtime) can promote sleep. However, vigorous physical activity in the late evening (< 6 hours before bedtime) can worsen insomnia.


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