Does Eating Cheese Before Bed Help You Sleep

Nutrition and Sleep

Eating cheese before bedtime has long been thought to help people sleep more soundly, but does it really? Cheese is a dairy product full of minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, phosphorus, and zinc, as well as protein and B vitamins. Cheese contains tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that has some sedating effects. Eating cheese before bed may help contribute to a relaxing atmosphere and send you off to sleep. It needs to be noted that eating cheese late at night is not a cure-all for sleep, as various other factors can affect sleep quality.

Cheese as a Source of Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in dietary protein that’s essential for your metabolism. It is the precursor to melatonin, which regulates levels of sleep and wakefulness, helping to induce a calming effect when taken in higher doses. Eating cheese before bed can help to increase tryptophan levels, which can, in turn, act as a mild sedative and result in a better night’s rest.

Cheese and Snack Time

Eating cheese before bed can also be beneficial due to it’s low glycaemic index, which means it can help stabilise blood sugar levels and protect you from potential night-time cravings later on. This combined with it’s high protein content can provide an excellent source of nutrition for the body and brain as it is slowly released during the night, preventing sudden energy crashes.

Higher Calcium Intake for Deep Sleep

The calcium that is found in cheese has also been linked to improved sleep quality, as it increases the release of two hormones – tryptophan and melatonin – that together are essential to getting deep, restorative sleep. A higher calcium intake means more of these sleep hormones are able to be released, meaning a more restful sleep.

Cases on Cheese and Sleep

Scientific evidence is limited, but anecdotal evidence suggests that eating cheese before bed can be beneficial. Some people may have experienced improved sleep quality after eating cheese, while others may not see any difference. It ultimately comes down to individual preference and nutrition requirements.

What Type of Cheese to Eat Before Bed

When it comes to choosing the right cheese to eat before bed, it’s generally best to stick to low-fat varieties, as the fat in higher-fat cheeses can take longer to digest and cause discomfort. Swiss, cottage, or goat cheese could be suitable choices because of their higher calcium content, with less fat and calories than traditional cheddar or gouda.

Alternatives to Eating Cheese Before Bed

If you’d prefer not to eat cheese before bed, you can get the same sleep-promoting benefits from other foods such as walnuts, almonds, and oats. Natural sources of melatonin like cherries and bananas are great options because they are also rich in micronutrients that help your body relax.

Foods to Avoid Before Bed

It is also important to note that some foods can interfere with sleep and should be avoided before bedtime. Heavy meals, spicy foods, and caffeine can increase alertness and interfere with sleep cycles, so they should be avoided.

Overview of Research

Although evidence on the effects of eating cheese before bed on sleep is limited, it is a good source of proteins and minerals that could be beneficial for overall health and quality of sleep. Eating cheese before bed can increase tryptophan levels, which can have a calming effect and help improve sleep quality. However, it is important to stick to lower-fat varieties and be aware that different foods affect people differently.

Examining Effects on Digestion

Digestive health is of paramount importance when it comes to getting a restful night’s sleep. Cheese can be difficult to digest for some people as there is a high percentage of fats and proteins that take time to be broken down, so they should be mindful of the amounts they consume. Cheese should be eaten in moderation to ensure the digestive system isn’t overly tasked and that people aren’t going to bed with an uncomfortable stomach.

Understanding Effects on Metabolism

On the other hand, eating cheese before bed could potentially have positive effects on metabolism, as it provides proteins and other nutrients that gradually are released throughout the night, providing essential energy without sudden energy crashes. Eating cheese with carbohydrates from food sources such as grains and fruits can slow the release of these nutrients, meaning the body is constantly supplied with them throughout the night.

Sedative Effects of Melatonin

Eating cheese late at night may also aid in improving sleep quality due to its higher calcium content, which has been linked to increased melatonin in the system. Higher levels of melatonin can help to induce a feeling of sedation, increasing the chances of getting a restful night’s sleep.

Examining Effects on Insomnia

For those with insomnia, there is potential that eating cheese before bed could help to ease sleep disturbances. Cheese has been used to treat symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and headaches, and can even help to reduce anxiety. Furthermore, tryptophan has been known to increase serotonin, improving mood and reducing negative emotions.

Exploring Effects on Sleep Cycles

By having a better understanding of our own sleep cycles, we are able to develop dietary and lifestyle habits that address our body’s needs. Eating cheese late at night may be beneficial for some sleep cycles, depending on the type of cheese, the quantity and the individual’s reaction to it. Cheese that is high in calcium can increase the release of sleep hormones that can help to regulate sleep and wakefulness.

Potential Side Effects

When considering eating cheese before bed, it’s important to be aware of its potential side effects. Cheese is high in fat and calories, so it can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess. Eating too much cheese late at night may also cause digestion issues and, for those with dairy allergies, could even cause allergic reactions or other digestive issues.


In conclusion, evidence on the effects of eating cheese before bed on sleep is limited. Eating cheese before bed may help to increase tryptophan levels, which can have a calming effect and potentially help improve sleep quality. However, it’s important that the type of cheese and the amount is considered to avoid potential weight gain or digestive issues. Ultimately, it all comes down to individual preference and nutrition requirements.

Sharon Pruden

Sharon E. Pruden is a passionate advocate for dairy products and the people who produce them. She has written extensively on the topics of cheese, yogurt, milk, and other dairy products and their importance to a healthy diet. She is committed to educating consumers about the nutritional benefits of dairy products and advocating for the dairy industry.

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