Tips for Combatting Insomnia

How do nutrition and cooking experts avoid sleepless nights?

Ellie Krieger, R.D., host of The Food Network’s Healthy Appetite; author of The Food You Crave (Taunton, 2008): “I have trouble sleeping if I eat too much, too late, so I’ll have a light dinner and I try not to eat after 7 p.m. If I feel hungry at bedtime, I’ll have a carbohydrate snack—an apple or clementine or a few crackers. I think that by triggering serotonin, it relaxes me a little.”

Paulette Mitchell, globetrotting cooking teacher; author of The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet (Wiley, October 2008): “[When traveling] I try to sleep on planes. For short flights, it’s easy. I often bring an herbal tea bag—usually a “sleepy”-type blend, and I order cups of hot water from the flight attendant.”

Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Director, John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University; author of Strong Women, Strong Backs (Perigee, 2007); EatingWell Advisor: “Exercise really helps me to sleep well. My routine varies with the seasons, but I try to get in a 4-mile run four times a week and a 6-mile run on the weekends, with 30 minutes of walking (as part of my commute) on the days I don’t run. I also do pull-ups daily and try to do strengthening exercises at least twice a week. And I never have more than one drink per day. Alcohol has a negative effect on sleep.”

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