Perhaps one of the worst things in life is sleep deprivation over a long period of time. Insomnia is a very common issue that millions of people suffer at some points in their lives. Stress is by far the biggest contributor to insomnia but eating that midnight snack before bed could also be the culprit.
Although many nutritionists say that eating before bed can leave you with wider hips, not getting enough sleep because you are hungry could be as detrimental. So what to do? Go ahead and eat that snack, but make sure it is healthy and one that will promote a good night’s sleep like those that include melatonin, tryptophan, magnesium or calcium.
Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Tryptophan is an amino acid which helps fight anxiety, regulate moods and can also induce sleep. Magnesium is a mineral that also helps with insomnia. Calcium rich milk and cheese are the go to foods when hunger strikes before bed.
Best Foods to Eat Before Bedtime:
A handful of walnuts are filled with sleep-inducing melatonin which will not only satisfy your hunger, but promote sleep. They are high in calories so a handful should not be more than 10.
2. Whole Grain Toast with Turkey
Turkey has natural occurring tryptophan so it is an ideal bedtime snack. The whole grain bread will not spike your sugar levels like white bread, therefore it is the perfect carb a before bedtime.
Rich in magnesium, almonds can greatly improve your quality of sleep. As these are also high in calories like walnuts, 10 almonds would make for the perfect bedtime snack.
4. Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers
The old remedy of a glass of warm milk to help you sleep still rings true. In fact, any foods high in calcium will help promote a good night’s sleep so choosing a few whole grain crackers with your favourite cheese will help bring the snooze on!
5. Tuna on Whole Grain
Did you know that tuna has high levels of Vitamin B6 which helps produce melatonin in your body? Choose a tuna packed in water instead of oil and by omitting fatty condiments like mayonnaise, you will keep it “au naturel” while spreading it over a whole grain toast or cracker.
6. Life Is like a Bowl of Cherries
Sleep comes on quickly with the melatonin-packed tart variety of cherries! Studies have shown that tart cherry juice before bed helps with insomnia versus a placebo. Keeping with the rule of 10, a little will go a long way.
7. Cereals and Milk
Plain whole grain cereal without high levels of sugar from added fruit and other additives, with milk, are ideal for curing the munchies at bedtime. The healthy carbs and calcium combo are a great alternative to bring on the Zs.
8. Hummus on Whole Grain Crackers
This popular Middle Eastern treat is chock full of tryptophan and when combined with whole grain crackers will certainly satisfy your late night hunger while encouraging a good night’s sleep.
Sometimes a glass of warm milk or hot chamomile tea will hit the spot just as well as the foods mentioned above. Creating a routine around bedtime with healthy food choices, herbal teas or perhaps a warm bath will establish an automatic response every time.
We are creatures of habit, so we typically respond well to routines. Establishing healthy habits at bedtime for you and your family will only promote better health overall because good health always starts with good restorative sleep.
Turning down your duvet, quilt or grandma’s blanket, sinking in between your soft crisp sheets while resting your head on that perfect pillow, makes your bedroom the oasis it is meant to be. As you nourish your body with healthy snacks at bedtime, your perfect mattress and bed accessories will provide the comfortable and serene place you need to be at the end of your day!
Angela, Your Sleep Expert