Dietary advice for Stress and Sleep


Eating foods rich in tryptophan or melatonin close to bedtime can help.

Cherries are one of the only food sources of melatonin – a chemical that is essential for the body to regulate sleep. 

Dairy products contain tryptophan, used by the brain to create the chemicals required for sleep. Eating some yoghurt or having a glass of warm milk before bedtime may help. Tryptophan is also found in bananas along with potassium. 

Research has shown that potassium may be one of the elements responsible for deep slow-wave sleep, so bananas may be especially beneficial.


A balanced, nutritious diet based on wholegrains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and adequate good-quality protein helps to provide the basic nutrients your body needs to prevent depletion of your physical reserves as this leads to stress and sometimes depression.

Many people find that by avoiding stimulants such as tea, coffee and sugary foods, they cope better with stress and experience less irritability and insomnia. 

Small regular healthy snacks help to maintain your energy throughout the day and stave off hunger pangs and cravings. 

Headaches and Migraines

Diet is an important factor and it is best to avoid coffee, chocolate, cheese and orange juice, these being the most common allergens. Raw ginger (juiced into smoothies or cooked lightly in stir fries) can also have a beneficial effect. Capsicum (hot cayenne pepper) has also been found to be helpful.

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Napiers Sweet Dreams Herbal Remedy
Napiers Valerian Tincture
English Herbal Medicines Organic Valerian Relaxisleep.


Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) is a tried and trusted herb for anxiety and insomnia.

Don't struggle alone

If you have chronic health problems, we advise you to see a medical herbalist at Napiers or through the  National Institute of Medical Herbalists


Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a well-known herb to relieve stress and help restore healthy sleep patterns.


Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a well documented herb for preventing headaches and migraine.

Lime flowers

Lime flowers (Tilea europea) and leaves are taken to help reduce blood pressure associated with stress and tension.

St John's Wort

St John's Wort (Hypericum officinalis) is used to treat depression. Don't buy unlicensed St John's Wort as it has known drug interactions, even with the contraceptive pill.

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