Before Bed Snack: 11 Best Foods that Help You Sleep

by Tyler Moyer | | | 0 Comments

Adults who didn't get enough sleep were found to be more likely to develop as many as 10 chronic health conditions. Those who slept longer were found to report many fewer problems.

Surely you know the importance of sleep, but you could be harming your chances by choosing the wrong foods. By making smart snack choices before you go to bed, you can greatly increase your chances of sleeping well.

Read on for our top 11 foods that help you sleep. 

Foods That Help You Sleep: The Science Behind It

When you're about to go to sleep, you may want to be mindful of what you grab for a snack. In fact, it's been shown that eating spicy foods can cause you to sleep less soundly, due to a rise in body temperature from the heat in the spices.

On top of that, quick-burning starchy carbs can also wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. This is mostly due to the excess energy they create when you're trying to wind down.

In addition to having the right sleeping accessories, you should also look for foods that help you sleep. As a general rule, you should go for things that are mild and filling. These will help you stay full throughout the night without creating digestive issues that could keep you awake.

Although different foods have different attributes that contribute, some of them bear a few things in common. By looking at the most common foods, you can get a better idea of what to look for in a late night snack. 

1. Turkey

This one might be the most obvious, but it bears repeating. If you have ever found yourself tired after a Thanksgiving meal with your family, it's likely the turkey that's causing it.

Turkey is one of the most well-known foods that help you sleep. It contains the amino acid tryptophan, which has been linked to extra sleepiness in humans. This is because it helps create melatonin, which a hormone that regulates our sleep.

On top of t
hat, turkey contains a decent amount of protein, as well as some major vitamins and minerals that will keep you feeling good. As an added bonus, it's low in fat, which will keep you from packing on extra pounds during the night.

2. Oatmeal

It's been a long-stated fact that oatmeal makes a great breakfast food, but did you know it is a great bedtime food as well?

The reasons are similar: oatmeal provides a lot of slow-burning carbohydrates, which deliver a steady stream of energy while keeping blood sugar low. Oatmeal also contains a great deal of fiber, which will help you stay full throughout the night. 

3. Popcorn

Popcorn is another slow-burning carbohydrate that will fill you up without spiking your blood sugar. It's also low in calories, which makes it a great choice for a bedtime snack.

4. Whole Wheat

If you're in the mood for some bread, stay away from anything white. These can actually cause your blood sugar to go way up, robbing your body of the feel-good sleep hormone serotonin.

Instead, go for a hearty slice of whole grain bread. Whole wheat is packed with fiber and slow-burning carbohydrates, which can help you stay full and sleeping soundly.

For the perfect high-fiber bedtime snack, toast some whole grain bread and spread it with almond butter. It's delicious and will leave you feeling great.

5. Almonds

Almonds are a nutrient-rich food that can help keep you full and keep your blood sugar levels down. They have even been shown to promote heart health and maintain a healthy weight.

But did you know that almonds have also been shown to be one of the foods that help you sleep? This is because they have high levels of magnesium, which is said to promote a long and restful sleep.

Magnesium has been shown to aid sleep and even help those who suffer from insomnia. It reduces inflammation and the stress hormone cortisol, which allows you to have an easier and more restful sleep.

Almonds also are a source of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. Although other nuts, such as walnuts, have similar effects, almonds are the best contender.

6. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a great source of lean protein, which packs a decent amount of the sleep-promoting amino acid tryptophan. It's delicious on its own or topped with a tryptophan-contain fruit, such as raspberries.

7. Chamomile

While not consumed as a food, the leaves of the chamomile plant can be brewed to a delicious tea that can help you wind down at the end of the day.

The chamomile herb has long been used as a medicinal plant to help with insomnia. It's said to promote a feeling of relaxation in the body, which can create a long, restful sleep. As an added bonus, when consumed as a hot tea, the heat will promote relaxation as well. 

8. Milk

Milk is another known source of tryptophan, which can do wonders for your night's sleep. Trying warming it up to make a hot, relaxing drink before you go to bed.

9. Figs

Figs are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium, all of which help maintain your overall health. These delicious fruits can also help you kick your sugar craving before bed, helping you fall asleep faster. 

10. Kiwi

Several studies have linked kiwis to improve sleep cycles. They've also been used as a treatment method for insomnia. They contain a ton of sleep-promoting compounds, including melatonin, magnesium, potassium, flavonoids, calcium, folate, and carotenoids.

Kiwis are rich in antioxidants and low-calorie, making them a delicious choice for a nighttime snack. If you want something sweet and healthy, they're a great option.

11. Tart Cherries

Cherries are chock-full of tryptophan, melatonin, serotonin, and potassium. All of these compounds have been shown to have a positive effect on the patterns of human sleep. In fact, a recent studysuggested a definite link between cherries and positive sleeping cycles.

Final Thoughts

Just like finding a good bed setup, choosing the right snack foods can do wonders for your sleep cycle. Now that you have some ideas, get snacking!

For more sleep advice, check out our blog.

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