Though you’ve likely heard it’s better if you don’t, everyone needs to eat a little snack before bed from time to time. It can be difficult, however, to know what the best choice is when it comes to bedtime snacks. Obviously, if it’s getting close to bedtime, you don’t want to compromise your quality of sleep, and there are so many things that, if you eat them too close to bedtime, can really hold you back from getting a good night’s sleep. To avoid that, make sure you’re choosing the right foods for your late night snacking. When it comes to the do’s and don’t’s of pre-sleep eating, here’s what else you need to know.
1.Should eat: Bananas
If you simply cannot fall asleep without a bedtime snack, reaching for a banana is a good bet. Bananas contain both tryptophan — which you know from your Thanksgiving Day turkey can help promote sleep — and potassium, which is perhaps a lesser-known sleep supporter. Bonus: bananas are sweet, so you might just be able to forgo dessert and convince yourself that banana you’re eating is pulling double duty.
2.Should drink: Cherry juice
Cherry juice is good for you in so many ways, but did you know it can promote a better night’s sleep? Tart cherry juice can help boost your melatonin, which is a naturally-occurring hormone that’s job it is to make you feel sleepy. Step away from the supplement aisle (where you can also find melatonin) and pick up a bottle of cherry juice instead.
3.Should eat: Salmon or tuna
So they may not be what you find yourself reaching for to fill up your tummy right before you go to bed, but eating salmon or tuna for a late dinner can lead to better sleep. According to Refinery29, these healthy fish contain tryptophan (like turkey), but they’re also high in vitamin B6, which is essential for the production of melatonin, which is very important when it comes to getting drowsy and sleeping well through the night.
4.Should eat: Leafy greens
Perhaps the best way to set yourself up for sleeping success with your last meal of the day is by throwing that salmon or tuna onto a bed of leafy greens and making it a salad. Those powerhouse leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, and the like, are a good source of calcium, which your body needs to produce melatonin, which will help you sleep.
5.Should eat: Low-fat dairy
In an interview with Greatist, registered dietitian Lindsey Joe said low-fat dairy products, especially when mixed into a snack with whole grains, such as a bowl of whole grain cereal and milk, can help promote sleep. Foods like certain cheeses, milk, and yogurt can all be a great choice when it comes to picking a snack that not only won’t keep you up all night, but will actually encourage you to rest well.
6.Should eat: Sweet potatoes
Need a way to round out your salmon salad and create a fully sleep-promoting meal? Add a side of sweet potatoes. According to Health, sweet potatoes not only contain complex carbohydrates, which will help you sleep better, they also add a dose of potassium, which can help relax your muscles, leading to better quality sleep all night long. They’re versatile, as well. Roast them, bake them, make them sweet or savory, the possibilities are basically endless.
7.Should eat: Kiwi
Slice up some kiwi because, according to a recently-published study, kiwi is another fruit that helps you rest easy at night. Researchers out of Norway found that eating kiwi about an hour before hitting the hay led to better sleep than opting for another fruit variety for your bedtime snack.
In an interview with Men’s Health, Erin Morse, a registered dietitian and the chief clinical dietitian at UCLA Health, said that this was likely do to with kiwi’s antioxidant makeup, which include serotonin, which is known to help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.