Are you looking for a little bedtime snack? Great! You might already have the best foods for sleep waiting for you in your kitchen. Don’t lay down feeling hungry when there are a variety of foods that make you sleepy will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Check out what to eat before bed for better sleep.
What To Eat For Better Sleep
Fruits For Better Sleep
Go ahead and look at your fruit bowl. You might have a variety of melatonin rich foods that are perfect for snacking on before bedtime.
Bananas – Bananas are great for improving sleep. Bananas contain vitamin B, potassium, and tryptophan, for a natural sleep-inducing effect that relieves insomnia.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that promotes the hormones serotonin and melatonin. Therefore they help your body regulate mood and sleep to feel happy and relaxed. Potassium can also help relieve cramps, which can assist with preventing restless leg syndrome.
Cherries – Grab a handful of Montmorency tart cherries. A study by the Louisiana State University found that these cherries helped participants sleep longer and relieved insomnia when compared to those given a placebo.
Montmorency cherries contain melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, vitamin K, and more to improve sleep. Plus, cherries reduce inflammation and may reduce aches and pains that are responsible for disrupting your sleep.
Prunes – There is a good reason why our elders promote eating prunes, and that reason is that they are great for our health. Prunes are a powerhouse of antioxidants to fight oxidative stress that might keep us awake at night.
Plus, prunes contain potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, and iron to promote relaxation, lower blood pressure, and slow the growth of wrinkles. So, instead of merely helping you rest, they make sure you get your beauty sleep as well.
Figs – Get figgy with it! Nah na na na nah na! Figs are an excellent option for better sleep because they are full of potassium, calcium, and iron, which are minerals that improve blood flow and muscle contractions to help you fall asleep.
Figs are also one of the best foods for insomnia and contain vitamin A, vitamin B9, Vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, and fiber. They will help you feel full and curb that dessert craving. Plus, they lower stomach acid to prevent you from waking up due to heartburn!
Nuts That Improve Sleep
We know this is a nutty idea, but it works if you’re wondering how to get more sleep then snack on a handful of nuts before bed.
Walnuts – Walnuts are good for sleep because they contain tryptophan and a high level of melatonin to help you feel happy and relaxed, along with regulating your sleep cycle. Walnuts also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that helps fight stress and reduce blood pressure to help you feel relaxed before bed.
Other compounds that help you sleep found in walnuts include zinc, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and serotonin.
Almonds – Almonds are another nut that helps you sleep longer because they contain high levels of melatonin to regulate your sleeping and waking cycle. A high level of magnesium is found in almonds, which promotes muscle relaxation to prevent restless leg syndrome and the need to toss and turn.
A serving of almonds can also help relax your mind with high levels of calcium and niacin that combat insomnia. While calcium increases levels of melatonin, niacin helps to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety to help clear your mind before bed.
Cashews – Cashews are rich in magnesium, making them one of the best foods for insomnia. Studies show that magnesium not only helps people fall asleep, but they help people stay asleep too by reducing anxiety that may cause people to awaken early.
Cashews also contain zinc, antioxidants, and iron to boost your immune system and fight oxidative stress. This way, you can relax at bedtime and prevent illnesses that might keep you up all night.
The Meats That Help You Sleep
If you aren’t in the mood for fruit or snacking on nuts, try a little meat. These low fat, protein-rich options are great for enhancing some shut-eye.
Turkey – Do you want to nap after enjoying your Thanksgiving meal? Well, that may be due to multiple different factors, with turkey being the most important one. Turkey is rich in melatonin and tryptophan for regulating sleep!
Tryptophan increases levels of serotonin in the brain to provide a natural calming effect. Along with relaxing your mind, turkey also contains zinc, selenium, and potassium to relax your body. You don’t have to wait until November for your turkey coma, snack on turkey anytime before bed for better sleep!
Fish – This is going swimmingly because salmon, tuna, mackerel, and more help you sleep. Fish are abundant in omega-3s, a source of good fats that help regulate mood and decrease inflammation. This way, you can feel relaxed and enjoy some pain relief. The anti-inflammatory properties in fish may help relieve symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea as well.
An essential omega-3s is DHA, as it helps people stay asleep longer. Studies show that DHA helps pregnant women get more sleep, helps infants sleep longer, and helps children stay asleep as well.
What To Drink For Good Sleep
If you’re wondering how to get more sleep, then we’ve got the tea for you. Instead of snacking before bed, you can kick back and catch more Zzzs with the right relaxing beverage.
Milk – We’ve all heard the wise old tale that warm milk helps you sleep, right? Well, milk doesn’t necessarily have to be heated to help you snooze. But warm milk can be very soothing as you prepare for bed.
Milk also contains tryptophan to induce a deeper sleep, calcium to relax the muscles, and Vitamin D, which is linked to lower rates of sleep disturbances. Plus, a variety of studies show that milk may be effective at helping people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer as a natural sleep aid.
Chamomile Tea – Chamomile tea comes from small, daisy-like flowers that have been dried and infused with hot water. These flowers have been used as traditional medicine for years. They are used for anxiety relief, to soothe the stomach, and as a sedative.
Often chamomile is used to prevent insomnia as a popular relaxant that soothes the body and mind. Chamomile reduces pain and stress, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Coconut Water – If you’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, then drink from them for better sleep. Coconut water contains nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium to relax your muscles.
By having a significant supply of electrolytes, coconut water may help reduce blood pressure and hypertension to help you relax. Coconut water will settle upset stomachs, preventing acid reflux as well.
Even though these carbohydrates are complex, it’s easy to understand how they help you sleep. Now we aren’t talking about carbs from sources such as white bread. Complex carbs come from healthier options, such as whole grains.
Oatmeal – Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast anymore. It can help improve your sleep. A bowl of oatmeal has a calming effect that can relax you for bedtime. Plus, it contains tryptophan to boost levels of serotonin and melatonin. Oats contain quite a bit of B6 for stress relief too.
Because oatmeal also contains magnesium, calcium, and potassium, it also helps relax your body muscles and enables you to stay asleep during the night.
Popcorn – Popcorn for sleep? Yes, that’s right. Popcorn is a great bedtime snack. It’s a whole grain that’s packed with fiber for steady digestion that helps you feel full and relaxed as the carbs are steadily digested. The slow digestion helps you stay asleep longer too.
When you eat popcorn, do you notice feeling a little happier? That’s because it’s rich in tryptophan and releases serotonin in your brain, helping you to feel relaxed and sleepy. Just take it easy on butter, salt, and other toppings that could irritate your stomach.
What NOT To Eat Before Bed Time
Now that you know how to sleep better, it’s essential also to learn what snacks to avoid before bed. You don’t want to be up all night, tossing and turning, just because you picked the wrong snack.
Chocolate – While we all love indulging in our favorite candy bars, hey may need to be avoided close to bedtime because they contain caffeine! You may think that chocolate only has a small amount, but levels of caffeine vary by brand.
Some chocolate bars have as much caffeine as a cup of tea. Plus, chocolate also contains other stimulants such as theobromine that increases your heart rate.
Alcohol – Won’t a nightcap help you feel sleepy and relaxed before bed? Sort of, but alcohol close to bedtime has more risks than rewards. While it’s true, alcohol can make people feel drowsy; it also lowers their sleep quality.
Alcohol reduces the restorative REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. REM disruptions may cause daytime fatigue and poor concentration. Alcohol also creates the need for you to get up and visit the bathroom more often and can suppress your breathing, leading to sleep apnea.
Spicy foods – Save foods that bring the heat for earlier in the day. Eating spicy foods near bedtime increases the risk of acid reflux and GERD during the night. Acid reflux may cause you to wake up due to stomach cramps or a burning sensation in your throat.
Spicy foods raise your internal body temperature, which needs to be lowered to get good sleep. Plus, spicy items take longer to digest. So if you eat something with heat before bedtime, your body may be focused on digestion instead of falling asleep.