If you’ve ever experienced a poor night’s sleep due to insomnia, stress, then you’ve probably tried a lot of methods to get the most out of those few hours. But what we eat before we hit the hay can affect us more than we think. Too much sugar can elevate your blood pressure and before you know it, you’re sweating in the middle of the night wondering when you ran a 5k in your sleep. And too much caffeine can leave you up past your bedtime and groggy the next morning. Finding a balance is tricky, but replacing your current evening snacks with something more sleep friendly can really turn your day around. Whatever you choose to munch on before bed just make sure it’s about an hour to 30min before you snooze. Your body needs time to digest!
The best thing to do is stay away from highly caffeinated drinks. If you’re used to sipping on something hot before bed try some sleep friendly teas like Bedtime by Yogi or Sleepytime by Celestial. And you can’t go wrong with any chamomile and passion fruit tea which contains natural promoters for sleep.
All that stuff earlier about not eating too much sugar, well it depends. Honey has natural sugars that gently raises your insulin levels and allows tryptophan to easily enter in the brain. So why not grab a cup of tea and scoop yourself a spoonful of honey before you snooze!
We don’t all like to eat vegetables, but if you decided you wanted to really put some effort into eating more than now is the time. Lettuce, kale, and collards all have one thing in common and it’s not that they’re green, they’re all full of calcium! If you’re calcium deficient then pack these greens before bed and you’ll find yourself rested and recharged for the new day.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth and everynight before bed I crave for something sweet. Usually I grab a pastry or a slice of cake I just baked a few days prior, but recently I transitioned from having dessert earlier and enjoying a piece of fruit instead. Bananas are full of potassium and magnesium, which promote relaxation in the muscles and can help you sink into that bed and fully enjoy those comfortable pillows. Cherries contain melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone so grab a handful before bed and enjoy. If you can’t find fresh ones try some dried cherries or cherry juice, just be aware of how much added sugar those items contain!
I’ve never been much of a nut person, but if you enjoy the occasional trail mix or granola then this is the bedtime snack for you. Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that creates melatonin and serotonin which acts like the internal clock that sets your awake and asleep cycle. Almonds are rich in magnesium which is a fantastic mineral needed for optimal rest.
Basically, don’t eat a ton of meat before bed because then you’ll get, what I call, the meat sweats. It’s similar to night sweats, but the difference is when you consume too much meat before bed your body is working extra hard to metabolize that meat. But if you’re an avid meat eater and simply can’t say no then try your hand at Elk. Elk has twice as much tryptophan as turkey, meaning you’re more likely to want to go to bed than watch another hour of Netflix.
Fish such as tuna (fresh or canned), halibut, and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin.
Foods that have a high glycemic index will generally spike your insulin levels which will result in some tiredness and eagerness to take a nap or go to bed. Pretzels and corn chips will do just that. If you’re looking for something with more substance a bowl of your favorite flakes and whole milk are a great combo because of the carbohydrates from the cereal and the calcium from the milk. Lastly, a hot bowl of white rice, another food with a high glycemic index, will help you fall asleep sooner than it usually takes you.