Doctor’s surprising sleep advice: Indulge in a cheeseboard before bed

Liz Truss gives 'bizarre' speech about cheese

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Cheese is a hotly debated topic. We’ve also all heard rumours that cheese can cause nightmares. But there are few studies to support this. In fact there are many studies to suggest the opposite – that cheese might help you doze off and have a better night’s sleep. Doctor Verena Senn, an expert neurobiologist has weighed in on the subject, and her counterintuitive conclusions might surprise you.

Doctor Senn, who is the head of sleep research for the company Emma Sleep, explained that cheese is made up of a substance that encourages sleep.

Cheese contains a substance called tryptophan – a biochemical that humans don’t create in our own bodies.

Tryptophan, Doctor Senn explained, is a “precursor” to melatonin, a hormone that can alter your sleep cycle.

“By helping your body to produce more melatonin, tryptophan can help you better regulate your internal clock, helping you doze off into a well-needed rest,” she told

Sleep is vitally important – and having a healthy sleep cycle impacts your immune system and metabolism.

Some studies have found that melatonin, which can be taken as a supplement, can also improve sleep quality as well as quantity.

Doctor Senn also explained that “the crackers on your cheeseboard could also help too”.

“Eating a large number of carbohydrates causes your body to release extra insulin to keep your blood sugar levels balanced,” she added.

The insulin boost can leave you feeling “lethargic”, she suggested.

But having a cheeseboard before bed comes with one precaution – making sure you eat it at least two to three hours before you fall asleep.

The expert recommended leaving this time to let your body digest the food properly.

Cheese isn’t the only dairy product which might help.

According to Doctor Nerina Ramlakhan, author of Tired But Wired: How to Overcome Your Sleep Problems?, warm milk is another source of tryptophan, making it “handy” for people struggling to fall asleep.

Tryptophan can also be found in yoghurts, nuts and seeds, poultry, oats, avocados, bananas, apples and kiwi fruit, she said.

So, if you’re indulging in a cheeseboard, it might be worth surrounding it with some of those foods.

You might also be tempted to have some red wine with your cheeseboard.

But you should do this with caution.

Alcohol consumption has been linked to disrupted sleep.

Specifically, it has been found to limit the amount of deep, rapid-eye-movement sleep you obtain, as well as mess with your circadian rhythm or body clock.

This can cause you to wake up at random times during the night.

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