What you eat before bed can have a profound impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. The key is to find foods that help you sleep and healthy bedtime snacks that will not prevent you from getting the sleep you need. Some foods, and portion sizes, interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. You’ve probably been told not to eat large snacks filled with fried, fatty food right before going to bed. But, what is good to eat?
Foods that Promote Sleep
Dr. Oz is an excellent resource for just about everything food. This video from the segment Foods for Better Sleep, explains great foods that promote sleep. Not all of them are appropriate for bedtime snacks, but there are a few items that are ideal for eating within an hour of calling it a night – that will also help you relax so you can fall asleep faster.
- Pumpkin seed powder: This powder is rich in tryptophan, which promotes sleep and should be mixed with a carbohydrate such as applesauce for maximum effectiveness.
- Montmorency tart cherries: These cherries have six times the amount of melatonin when compared to regular cherries.
- Scottish oatmeal: This is the quintessential bedtime snack. It’s an excellent source of tryptophan and melatonin. One half to one cup of oatmeal before bed is the ideal portion size for adults.
Foods to Avoid Before Bed
SFGate explains that there are some foods you should avoid eating before bed – with good reasons. Spicy foods, for instance, cause indigestion and heartburn, which will keep you up throughout the night. Consuming too many liquids before bedtime is another nocturnal no-no as it will have you making midnight visits to the bathroom. Caffeine is a stimulant that actually makes it more difficult to fall asleep. And alcohol, while it may soothe jagged nerves after a long day, will disrupt the quality of sleep you’re able to get leaving you waking without feeling rested at all the next morning.
Other Great Snack Ideas
The best bedtime snacks are snacks that satisfy your cravings and help you maintain fairly consistent blood sugar levels throughout the night. Look for foods that offer some protein, complex carbohydrates, and calcium. Lifescript recommends snacks such as scrambled eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt with granola, one small apple with an ounce of cheese, low fat milk, and whole grain cereal with skim milk.
The ideal healthy bedtime snack will satisfy whatever snack craving you have, not disrupt your sleep, and may even have benefits that actually promote sleep instead. These are all excellent choices and may help you get better sleep than you’ve experienced in years. Try them out next time you have a late night craving and see how satisfying they are for you.
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