Health Advice



Eat to sleep, perchance to dream

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In "Heartburn," Meryl Streep (Rachel) and Jack Nicholson (Mark) eat spaghetti carbonara in bed -- and they're headed for a breakup. In "Bridget Jones's Diary," Renee Zellweger (Bridget) snuggles under the covers for a rendezvous with excessive amounts of comfort food. Neither is a formula for a good night's sleep. But there are foods that can improve your sleep -- just don't eat them in bed, or too close to bedtime.

Soy: A 2015 study in Nutritional Journal found that eating two servings a day of soy, which is rich in isoflavones, increased sleep times and quality and was especially helpful to postmenopausal women.

Fiber-rich foods: A study out of the Obesity Research Center and Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University revealed that the more fiber you eat, the better quality your sleep -- in part because it ups the amount of slow-wave sleep you get. (Slow wave is the deepest phase of nonrapid eye movement sleep.) This may be because fiber stops blood sugar swings. A study in PlosOne found that folks with higher glucose levels had poorer sleep. And another study found that 62% of people with prediabetes have poor sleep.

Fish -- especially salmon: Seems that salmon (as well as canned tuna and halibut) boosts levels of B6, which is essential for making the sleep hormone melatonin.

Other sleep-friendly foods include tart cherry juice (it ups the availability of sleep-inducing tryptophan and quells inflammation), B6-rich bananas and green leafy vegetables like kale that contain calcium and magnesium (a deficiency of either makes it harder to sleep).



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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