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Foods to Help Ease Sleep Apnea Symptoms

by | May 13, 2022


 Sleep apnea is a common, but potentially serious, sleep disorder. It is characterized by stopping of the breath during sleep. Sometimes these stoppages are too brief to notice. On the longer end, though, sleep apnea can result in death. 

For this reason, it is important to seek professional advice if you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea. These symptoms include not feeling well-rested even after a full night’s sleep and unusually loud snoring. 

If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you are likely looking for ways to manage your symptoms at home. As always, weight management plays a major role in reducing and treating sleep apnea, and this list of foods that help sleep apnea can be a useful step toward getting consistently better, more restorative sleep. 

9 Foods to Ease Sleep Apnea Symptoms


Cherries contain naturally high levels of melatonin, a hormone that signals to the brain that it’s time for sleep. A recent study also shows that cherry juice may improve sleep efficiency and sleep time. In addition, they’re indulgently tasty, so eating some cherries or drinking cherry juice before bed shouldn’t be too difficult a habit to indulge. 


Like cherries, broccoli contains melatonin. This is a good option when cherries are out of season or for people who are avoiding sugars in their diet. 


Chicken and turkey both contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that can cause people to feel sleepy. The tryptophan in turkey has long been acknowledged as the culprit in post-Thanksgiving sleepiness. 

Dairy Products

The calcium in dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt is necessary to process melatonin in the body. This gives some weight to the folk wisdom that a glass of warm milk before bedtime can help you sleep more soundly. 

Kale, Spinach, and Collard Greens

These leafy green vegetables are also high in calcium. This may come as welcome news to people who do not use dairy products due to lactose intolerance or diet restrictions. 


Eating fish helps the body process melatonin by providing it with omega 3 fatty acids. It also contains vitamin B6, which helps to make more melatonin as well, so a fish dinner can help you drift off and sleep more deeply.  

Sweet Potato

Another option for omega 3 fatty acids, sweet potatoes also have vitamin B6 and complex carbohydrates to help you feel sleepy. 

Whole Grains

Whole grains contain magnesium, which helps people feel calm and stay asleep. They also promote tryptophan uptake. 


Glucose, a type of sugar that is found in honey, lowers levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that keep you alert. This allows you to relax and get to sleep. 

What Foods Can Make Sleep Apnea Worse?


Although an otherwise healthy and nutritious snack, bananas increase mucous production in your sinuses, which can make the symptoms of sleep apnea worse. 


Alcohol has been shown to cause sleep apnea even in people who don’t normally experience it. It also decreases the amount of time spent in the restorative REM cycle of deep sleep, robbing your sleep of its healing capacity. 

Fatty Meats

The high amounts of saturated fats in fatty meats cause inflammation. This, in turn, exacerbates your sleep apnea. 

If you or a loved one has been suffering from sleep apnea, frequent sleep interruptions, or loud snoring, it is highly recommended that you consult a sleep specialist. Contact SleepWell Louisiana if you are looking for the best sleep apnea treatment in Lafayette, LA. 

We are using the WatchPAT Technology that can be easily connected to your mobile phone so you can sleep like any other night while monitoring sleep apnea events at the same time. One of our Sleep Care Coordinators will analyze the data collected to determine which oral appliance is best suited to your particular needs. Call us today to get started!