best bedtime snacks

Best Bedtime Snacks to Help You Fall Asleep

If you like to snack before bed, you’re in good company. Whether it’s a bowl of fruit or a bowl of chips, lots of people like to have a little snack to hold them over until breakfast. But are those snacks hurting or helping your sleeping habits.

Eating before bed isn’t bad – it’s not the time that you’re eating that’s keeping you awake – it’s what you’re eating! I’d love to tell you that there is a magical food out there that’s going to have you snoring just seconds after you lay your head on the pillow. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. What I can say, though, is that there are lots of different foods that will definitely help – along with some that won’t!

So, what are the best bedtime snacks to improve your rest? Let’s take a look!

Best Bedtime Snacks

Foods can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Sleepers – those foods that help you fall asleep
  2. Wakers – those foods that help boost your energy and keep you awake

Obviously, if you’re snacking before bed you’re going to want to choose something from the sleepers category.

So, what are the best bedtime snacks? The ones with the sleep-happy chemicals, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones Here are some of those elements – they work together to promote good sleep and regulate your sleep cycle:

Amino Acids:

  • tryptophan
  • gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
  • L-ornithine

Hormones:

  • melatonin
  • serotonin
  • acetylcholine
  • histamine

Nutrients:

  • calcium
  • potassium
  • magneium
  • folate
  • antioxidants
  • zinc
  • copper
  • vitamin D
  • B vitamins

So, foods with these are a good choice. But which foods are best?

Snacks for Sleep

Any of these foods are great as a midnight snack:

  1. Kiwi – this may be the best on the list (weird, I know)! Kiwi contains tons of different sleep promoting vitamins and minerals, along with lots of antioxidants. Plus, they benefit your digestive health, reduce inflammation, and lower your cholesterol, all of which can help you fall asleep faster and get better rest!
  2. Almonds – rich in melatonin, magnesium, and calcium.
  3. Bananas – great source of potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan.
  4. Milk – contains tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D, and melatonin. And no, it doesn’t need to be warm – that’s just nostalgia speaking.
  5. Cheese – like milk, cheese contains sleep-promoting calcium and tryptophan.
  6. Fatty fish – while tuna may not be your go-to bedtime snack, the combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fatty fish can help boost sleep quality because they both increase the production of serotonin.

Forget These Foods…

If some foods are good for helping you fall asleep, others, unfortunately, can have the opposite effect.

This is an obvious one, but we’ll say it anyways: caffeine. For better sleep, skip the caffeine at least 4 to 6 hours before bed. And don’t forget about the less obvious caffeine sources: tea (caffeine free is ok), chocolate, or soda.

No nightcaps, sorry. Sure, it may seem like alcohol helps you fall asleep faster, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting a good night’s sleep. Instead, alcohol usually leads to less time spent sleeping and more time tossing and turning. If you do have booze before bed, a glass of water in between can help to dilute the alcohol’s effects.

Avoid high fat foods. High fat foods lead to weight gain, and this can interrupt your sleep cycles. And also stay away from big, heavy meals – which high fat foods tend to be. A heavy meal activates your digestion, which can increase your need for a trip to the bathroom during the night.

Next time you’re craving a snack before bed, make sure you reach for something that’s going to help you sleep, not keep you up. Goodnight!