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How to Raid Your Fridge For Good Sleep

Mary Luz Mejia

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Food for good sleep isn't just a nice idea, it's been proven to be a determining factor in getting quality rest at night. Here are some meal-time shortcuts and hacks to help you get there.


Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks — rinse and repeat.


Sound familiar? Good nutrition is key to getting a good night's sleep and boosting one's immunity, but what to do when you're running on empty after whipping up endless healthy snacks and meals?


If you've ever gone down the frozen meals and take-out path, you are not alone. If you're looking for super easy, quick (20 minutes or less) and good-for-you solutions with little to no cooking, read on:


Eat Right, Sleep Right

Food for good sleep isn't just a nice idea, it's been proven to be a determining factor in getting quality rest at night.


In a study called "Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality," published in Advances in Nutrition, researchers found that eating nutrient-dense food serves as the building blocks to help create the environment in our bodies for better sleep. In fact, quality sleep is "your immune system's best defense," helping you become more resistant to and recover fast, from many diseases.


To help your body digest food to sleep better, try not to eat too close to bedtime. Sleep Number® SleepIQ® sleepers who rarely eat within an hour of going to bed are the most restful overall and get the highest (best) SleepIQ® scores.*


Fridge Raid to the Rescue

Fiber-rich, low-sugar meal choices that cover a broad spectrum of foods, including lean proteins, vegetables, legumes/pulses and fruit, are your best bet.


If you're in charge of yet another meal and you are a caregiver (like me) who loves helping take care of others but often does so at the expense of taking care of yourself, start with these good-for-you meal shortcuts.


On those days when my tank isn't full, I raid the fridge to use up bits and pieces that have been accumulating. My inspiration might look something like this:

  • Leftovers I can re-purpose: Last night's roasted chicken might turn into shredded chicken in tacos, burritos, a pasta dish, soup, a pot pie or layered into a gooey-good grilled cheese.

  • Yesterday's steak gets a makeover by being cut into thin slices for a hearty sandwich loaded up with grainy Dijon mustard, greens and a sharp cheddar cheese, or easy fajitas.

  • Any veggies that need eating ASAP get re-imagined into amazing stews and soups with leftover quinoa, rice pilafs, pasta dishes, omelets or frittata.

  • Cooked hash-browns or fries get warmed up and served with a fried egg on top for a quick meal. I might throw in a side of tomato, cucumber and feta salad dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice.

  • Wilting greens: I take not-so-fresh spinach and sandwich it amidst any grated cheese or cheese slices I have. This mixture sits between two previously frozen corn tortillas that I skillet griddle until the cheese melts and the tortilla gets crisp. Dinner's done in a flash, with fresh veggie slices on the side, a small salad or a pre-made cup of soup.

  • Fruit that's past its peak goes into easy compotes that I sweeten with orange juice or honey. I'll use this to dollop over yogurt with granola for a quick breakfast, ice cream, a piece of angel food cake, or quick crumbles for dessert. Sometimes I throw them right into the juicer for a fresh hit of vitamins.


Fridge Raid Salad 101

One of my family's go-to favorites is what I call the Fridge Raid Salad. It's our impromptu riff on a fancy salade Niçoise using whatever we can find.


I start by layering salad greens, micro-greens, fresh herbs, frisée or arugula onto a serving platter, enough for my family of three, and then go about building up the flavors.


One day, it might be last night's steamed greens, cauliflower or broccoli florets, grilled veggies or boiled potatoes. There's always boiled eggs, quartered and sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with olive oil. If there are leftover tinned, cooked lentils, cannellini beans or chickpeas, I'll add a smattering of those, slivers of carrot, radish, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, maybe some olives, tuna or tuna salad (or cooked salmon or chicken), hummus, and crumbled feta. Don't have feta? Use some grated parmesan or cheddar — or skip the cheese.


That's the beauty of this salad — you use what you have and you customize it to what you need/like. Vegan? Omit the dairy and animal proteins and you've got a gorgeous salad.


The Finishing Touch: Easy Salad Dressing

I like to dress my salads with a super quick vinaigrette I make in a lidded jar.


I add 1 heaping teaspoon of good dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice (you can use apple cider vinegar too) and 3/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. I'll add 1 clove of crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste and maybe a sprinkling of dried herbs if I have any.


Close the jar with a lid, shake well and pour over your salad. You may have some left over, which is handy for another salad on another day.


Dinner's done and all you did was assemble your meal like a pro.


Everyone can use a break. Caregiver fatigue is real. So why not turn meal prep into one of those break-giving moments? You will be less stressed and ready to turn in for some quality sleep.


Read more about food and sleep:


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Because no two people sleep the same, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably and provide proven quality sleep. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep, and if you own a Sleep Number® bed, log in to your InnerCircle℠ Rewards account to see your exclusive offers, refer friends and more.


*Based on SleepIQ® data from 1/2/20 to 1/1/21 and self-reported responses of sleepers using SleepIQ® technology from 5/12/19 – 1/1/21.



Colombian-born, Canadian raised Mary Luz Mejia is a twice nominated NATJA nominated freelance food/travel journalist, certified chocolate taster, Gemini-nominated former food TV producer and food content marketer. She has written for enRoute,, the Toronto Star, Travel+Leisure, Ensemble Vacations, The Globe and Mail, and Toronto Life to name a few.

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