Wondering if nighttime snacks are a good option or not? Not able to find the right thing to have at bedtime that will help you sleep well? Well, here are some of the best bedtime snacks and drinks to help you sleep better.
Well, you may find it difficult to choose a nighttime snack. Not only because you are not sure about the best foods that help sleep better but also because you are not sure if having late-night snacks is a healthy habit or not.1
8 Best Bedtime Snacks and Drinks To Help You Sleep Better
For ages, it is believed that it is best to avoid eating late at night or just before bedtime as it can increase the risk of obesity and metabolic issues. Also, for some, having carb-rich or high-fatty food late in the night can cause digestive issues and also lead to trouble falling asleep. However, recent studies have shown that having certain foods before bedtime can offer certain benefits.1
Your late-night snack must be light yet nutritive and something that would not cause bloating or difficulty in digestion. You would need these best bedtime snacks and drinks to help you sleep better whether when you are unable to fall asleep at night or when you have worked too much till late at night and want to munch on healthier options that will also promote better sleep.
A 2015 study reported that there is mounting evidence that suggests that the negative outcomes associated with late-night snacking may not bother much when the food choices are small, low in energy, and nutrient-rich and single macronutrients as compared to having large mixed meals.2
A 2016 study concluded that certain foods like milk products, fish, fruits, and vegetables show sleep-promoting effects but more research is needed into this. However, the results were in line with the dietary recommendations of having more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and vegetable oils that are low in saturated fats.3
A 2020 study done to evaluate the link between dietary intake and sleep outcomes reported that food containing tryptophan, melatonin, and phytonutrients like cherries show promising results in improving sleep quality and quantity.4
Let us look at some of the best bedtime snacks and drinks to help you sleep better.
Banana has been considered one of the best bedtime snacks to help you sleep better. It contains magnesium and potassium, which are known to offer several health benefits including improved sleep. Bananas are also known to promote the secretion of feel-good hormones and thus help in improving your mood and offering the relaxation you need while sleeping.
A 2013 study reports that the consumption of fruits like bananas, oranges, or pineapple helped raise serum melatonin concentrations and also raise the antioxidant capacity in healthy volunteers.5
Some may prefer having bananas with almond butter as almonds too offer similar benefits and help to raise melatonin levels which can help you sleep better.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits like kiwi and cherries are also found to be some of the best bedtime snacks to help you sleep better. Kiwi is low in calories and nutritious to offer you just the right nutrients to stay healthy. While it is rich in vitamin C and can help you boost immunity, it can offer relaxation that can help you sleep better. Berries and cherries are simple yet power-packed snacks to have at bedtime that will give you a rich source of antioxidants and melatonin thus helping you improve your sleep quality.
You may also choose to have crunchy veggies like broccoli, mushrooms like pan tossed, finger foods, or soups to make your bedtime snacks and drinks more interesting.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are not only rich in healthy fats but are also loaded with melatonin and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an important amino acid that can help improve sleep quality. Nuts and seeds are one of the best bedtime snacks to help you sleep better.
Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are rich in tryptophan while cashews can give you a good dose of potassium, and magnesium, and walnuts can help boost your serotonin levels.1 Excess salt can be harmful to your health as well as interfere with your sleep, hence these nuts and seeds are best unsalted.
Fish is also considered to have a positive impact on your sleep. It can increase the production of serotonin and improve your mood as well as the quality of sleep.
A 2014 study assessed the impact of fatty fish on sleep, daily functioning, and biomarkers. It found that the group that was given fish showed an improvement in their sleep and daily functioning as compared to the control group.6
A 2017 study reported that fish and eggs are high melatonin-containing foods and can be the best bedtime foods to have. Fish is rich in melatonin can improve sleep efficiency and it is found that melatonin-rich foods can help you sleep better.7
What can be more nutritious than germinated legumes or sprouts? Easy to prepare and tasty to have, these are some of the best bedtime snacks to help you sleep better. Sprouts are rich in proteins and also a great source of melatonin, which is just right for you to sleep well.7
A 2020 study reports that the intake of lentil sprouts can increase melatonin concentration and reduce oxidative stress.8 This makes it a very healthy option for better sleep as well as to promote better health.
Oatmeal is a very soothing option to have before bedtime, as it can prepare you for a good sleep and keep you full through the night. Oats contain magnesium and melatonin, which can improve your sleep quality. You can add some dry fruits and seeds to it for a nutrition-packed bedtime snack that can help you sleep better.
Protein is considered essential for the repair of tissues and is particularly helpful in resistance training in healthy people. While day time diet provides the necessary protein nourishment, the periods of sleep may need to be addressed. Hence, recent research focused on providing nighttime casein protein supplementation to improve muscle protein synthesis, muscle mass, and strength thus improving their performance in resistance training.9
These are some of the best bedtime snacks and drinks to help you sleep better. You can try your recipes around these foods but make sure you keep them lean and avoid adding excess oil, salt, or sugar to them.
Foods that are best avoided for bedtime snacks include simple sugars, chocolates, fast food, sodas, fatty, spicy and acidic foods, and alcohol.