Having a hard time getting a solid night of ZZZs lately? Your diet could be to blame.

Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep often eat a poor diet and want to devour all the sweets, while their desire for healthy food drops.

So we grilled Monique Cashion, Woolworths Senior Nutritionist, for her nutrition tips on getting some decent shuteye:

  • Practice mindful eating: Eating a big meal just before bedtime can cause discomfort, since your digestive system slows while you sleep. Ideally you want to try to eat a healthy, balanced dinner earlier, allowing several hours for your food to digest, and then use a bedtime snack to help send you off to sleep.
  • Skip the fads:Aim to eat three well-balanced meals and three snacks throughout the day. Don’t allow yourself to get famished before eating and learn to know when you are full.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol: If you’re sensitive to caffeine, limit your intake to the morning and try to reduce your alcohol intake right before bedtime. Although it may help get you off to sleep, alcohol prevents you from getting into the deeper stages of sleep.

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There is some research, which suggests certain foods as part of a balanced diet may help us nod off (although more evidence is needed). Try these foods:

  • A small bowl of cereal and milk before going to bed in the evening. Milk gives the body a boost of the amino-acid tryptophan, while the cereal allows insulin to be released. Insulin helps the tryptophan enter the nervous system where it’s transformed into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that aids sleep.
  • A handful of nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, contain typtophan and magnesium which may have a calming effect. Shoppers can find a range of nuts or mixed nuts in the micro organic range.
  • Take pleasure in a cup of soothing camomile tea, at 5c a bag* – it’s caffeine free and is a great substitute for late-night snacking.

*Woolworths select camomile tea $2 for 40pack