Two things that each of us must do every single day are eat and sleep. One affects the other, although we tend to pay more attention when those effects are negative. Sleep deprivation can put people in a weakened mental state and make them reach for foods they shouldn’t. Meanwhile, eating the wrong kinds of food, especially before bed, can ruin sleep.
If you’re having sleeping difficulties, there’s a chance you aren’t eating the right foods that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer and more deeply. (Hint: You also need to be exercising daily.) While snacking before bed is often frowned on as a no-no by experts, there are certain things you can eat before bed that can help your slumber. If the traditional glass of warm milk doesn’t work for you, try some of these bedtime snacks for sleep.
Sleeping requires a hormone called melatonin. It regulates your sleep cycle. Cherries are one the only natural sources of melatonin. Even better, one cup of cherries contains roughly 100 calories, so you won’t have to worry about excess calories going to your waist as you sleep. If you can’t get fresh cherries, opening a can of them is fine, provided they aren’t in syrup or have sugar added.
Whole Grain Crackers
Cue the jokes about eating crackers in bed and dropping crumbs.
OK, now remember we’re talking about bedtime snacks to have before you get in bed. J
Sometimes we just crave something crunchy before bed. Instead of grabbing chips, try a few plain whole grain crackers. A lot of refined wheat flours are fortified with thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3) – a deficiency in these B vitamins can negatively affect sleep. Just be sure to avoid vitamins B6 and B12, because they can cause either sleep difficulties or extra vivid dreaming. You could even top the crackers with some cheese, so you get protein and calcium, which are good for your body’s repair work through the night.
Rice can increase tryptophan and melatonin production. Tryptophan is the stuff that causes turkey to make you sleepy. (Don’t go for turkey, though, because it’s very rich and heavy in the stomach.) Avoid adding soy sauce to your rice as it contains tyramine, which causes the release of norepinephrine, a brain stimulant.
Ham and Cheese Rollup
Think of it like a sandwich or wrap minus the bread. (The bread has sugar.) This bedtime snack can help sleep, without being harsh on the waistline. In fact, cheese contains casein proteins, which, when eaten before bed, may actually increase your metabolism the following day.
When your craving is for protein, grab the can opener and pop open some tuna. Canned tuna is equally as light as it is nourishing. When spread on some crackers before bed, tuna’s protein and healthy fats may just have you drifting off sooner.
Light, versatile, and with a lovely nutty flavor, pumpkin seeds make a great bedtime snack. They contain high levels of tryptophan which, along with melatonin, helps to induce sleep.
Few things are as comforting as a bowl of warm soup. When you’re tired and looking for a quick bedtime snack for improved sleep, simple is better. Stick to clear broths or smooth, blended soups. Avoid beans, noodles or lentils as these can take more time to digest and thus impede your sleep.
Try some of these simple and nutritious bedtime snacks and we think you’ll sleep like a log.Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Zulu Quality and a clickable link back to this page.