Nutrition Blog

Bedtime Snacks to Help You Sleep

Woman sleeping in comfy white bed with peaceful smile on her face | Bedtime Snacks to Help You Sleep

Best Snacks or Meals Before Bedtime to Help You Get Quality Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is key to your overall health and well being. Getting good sleep can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, help you boost your immunity and manage your weight. Most people struggle to get the recommended 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. There are many strategies you can use to promote good sleep, including making changes to your diet, as some foods and drinks have sleep-promoting properties. Did you know that certain bedtime snacks can help you sleep? (1)

Here are the 7 best bedtime snacks (foods and drinks) you can have before bed to enhance your quality of sleep and help you obtain the best rest.

Almonds are good Bedtime Snacks to Help You Sleep.

Almonds

The monounsaturated fats, fiber and antioxidants in almonds have been associated with lower risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Almonds are also closely linked to sleep since they contain a hormone called melatonin, which signals your body to prepare for sleep. In addition to melatonin, almonds are an excellent source of magnesium which has also been shown to help improve sleep quality. Magnesium’s role in promoting sleep is closely linked to its ability to reduce inflammation and the stress hormone cortisol which is known to interrupt sleep.

Although there is not extensive research on almond consumption and sleep, the potential sleep-related effects of almonds are promising. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, consider trying about an ounce or a handful of almonds before bed. It just might improve your sleep quality!

Cooked and seasoned white turkey sliced into thick slices

Turkey

Turkey is a great source of protein, selenium and an amino acid called tryptophan, which increases the production of melatonin that may cause sleepiness. In addition to melatonin, the protein in turkey may also be contributing to tiredness. Although more research is necessary, there is some evidence showing that consuming moderate amounts of protein before bed can improve sleep quality, including less waking up throughout the night. (2) Turkey may be a great food to eat before bed due to its high protein and tryptophan, both of which induce tiredness.

Chamomile Tea sits steaming in a clear mug surrounded by white, delicate chamomile flowers.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is well known for containing a class of antioxidants called flavone, which help reduce inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Chamomile also contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to certain receptors in the brain that may help promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia. (3)

One study found that women who drank chamomile tea for 2 weeks reported improved sleep quality compared to non-tea drinkers. Those who drank the tea also had fewer symptoms of depression, which is commonly associated with sleep issues. Drinking chamomile tea before bed may be worth trying if you are looking to improve the quality of your sleep.

Kiwis are great Bedtime Snacks to Help You Sleep.

Kiwi

The sleep promoting effects of kiwis are typically attributed to the serotonin they contain. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. The anti-inflammatory antioxidants in kiwis, like vitamin C and carotenoids, may also be responsible for their sleep-promoting effects. More research is needed, but eating 1-2 kiwis before bed may help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. (4)

A birds-eye-view of a bowl of ripe cherries set next to a glass and jar of cherry juice.

Tart Cherry Juice

The sleep-promoting hormone melatonin in tart cherry juice may help induce a good night’s sleep. One study showed that adults with insomnia who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for 2 weeks, slept 84 minutes longer and reported improved sleep quality than those who did not drink the juice.

…adults with insomnia who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for 2 weeks, slept 84 minutes longer and reported improved sleep quality than those who did not drink the juice.

A filet of fatty fish, salmon, seasoned with herbs is set upon a white plate

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel have exceptional amounts of Vitamin D, as well as omega three fatty acids. The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D have the potential to enhance sleep quality, as both have been shown to increase the production of serotonin. Although more studies are needed to make a definite conclusion, eating a few ounces of fatty fish before bed may offer a good night’s rest.

Various jars of dairy products, like milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese are lined up against a light blue background

Dairy Products

A glass of milk, cottage cheese and plain yogurt are known sources of tryptophan that help promote sleep. Milk has been shown to improve sleep in older adults, especially when paired with light exercise. (5)

So Can Certain Bedtime Snacks or Meals Help You Sleep?

Although more research is necessary to conclude the specific role that food and drink have in promoting sleep, their known effects are very promising.

Foods that contain high amounts of specific antioxidants, hormones, and nutrients like magnesium, melatonin, and tryptophan, can enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep faster or stay asleep longer.

In order to get the most benefit from sleep enhancing food and drink, it is best to consume these foods 2-3 hours before bed in order to avoid digestive issues like acid reflux.

In addition to other sleep hygiene rituals like regular sleep times, try to avoid blue or bright light 1-2 hours before bed.

Consider adding sleep enhancing bedtime snacks to your sleep hygiene routine in order to help you get a great night’s rest. If you need more assistance in evaluating your diet and how it can be improved for a better overall well being, contact me. I specialize in weight management and mindfulness for a healthy lifestyle.

Voula Manousos’ writing is featured in the “Winchester Living Magazine” and “The Winchester Star” of Wicked Local.

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