Call Now to Speak with a Care Manager Speak with a Care Manager Now: 480.448.6215

5 Foods That Help Prevent Insomnia in Seniors

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on January 23, 2017

Insomnia can be more challenging to manage in the senior years. However, there are certain foods that provide a natural way to prevent insomnia. If your senior loved one is having difficulty sleeping, Chandler, AZ, elderly home care experts have put together a list of 5 foods that may help him or her enjoy a good night’s rest.

1. Lean Proteins 

Lean proteins are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that increases serotonin levels and promotes good sleep. Make sure your loved one does not eat too much protein or foods that are fried and high in fat, especially close to bedtime, because doing so could disrupt his or her sleep.

Some of the foods your loved one can eat to prevent insomnia include:

  • Eggs 
  • Whole-grain toast
  • Peanut butter
  • Bananas 
  • Rice cakes 
  • Low-fat cheese 
  • Lean turkey 
  • Fish 

2. Nutrient-Rich Fruits 

Fruits like bananas contain magnesium and potassium, nutrients that help relax muscles and calm the nervous system throughout the night. Other fruits your loved one can eat to prevent insomnia include apples, apricots, and peaches, which are a good source of melatonin, the hormone that makes a person sleepy. By eating nutrient-rich fruits, the brain receives enough serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.

3. Healthy Fats 

Eating unsaturated fats helps boost heart health and serotonin levels. Healthy fats also contain the magnesium necessary to make your loved one feel tired. However, make sure he or she avoids eating unhealthy saturated fats that reduce serotonin levels. 

These healthy fats can help seniors prevent insomnia:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados 
  • Cashews
  • Peanut butter
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

4. Complex Carbs 

Oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain crackers, cereal, sweet potatoes with honey, and jasmine rice are some good bedtime snacks your loved one can choose from. These complex carbohydrates have plenty of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and silicon, all of which can make your loved one feel sleepier and more relaxed. Complex carbs also increase the amount of tryptophan in the body. 

5. Warm Milk 

Before your loved one goes to sleep, help him or her combat insomnia by serving a warm glass of milk. Milk is a great source of calcium, a mineral that regulates melatonin in the body, and it also contains tryptophan, which has a calming effect. Your loved one should avoid caffeinated drinks because they could prevent him or her from going to sleep.

If your loved one needs help managing a healthy diet that promotes sleep and good overall health, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can prepare nutritious meals and snacks, go grocery shopping, and assist with a wide array of other everyday tasks. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and dementia care Chandler, AZ, families trust and rely on. For more information on our elderly care services, please call 480.448.6215 to speak with one of our experienced Care Managers.