There’s nothing wrong with eating a snack before bed. It’s much better if you satisfy that peckish feeling rather than ignoring it and laying in bed counting down the hours to breakfast. That said, not all snacks will help prime your body for a good night’s sleep, such as sugary snacks.
To give your body just what it needs to sleep well, here are 4 approved bed-time snacks from board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.
The beauty of tart cherries is that they are rich in a hormone called melatonin, which has been shown to improve sleep quality and sleep duration. In a randomized, double-blind, pilot study, researchers found that tart cherry juice was equally or more effective at managing insomnia than both valerian and melatonin products.
Avocado on a rice cake
While carbs can get you feeling sleepy before bed, that doesn’t mean you should enjoy a late-night bowl of pasta. Instead, Breus says you should go for a snack that has about 70 percent whole, complex carbs and 30 percent of either fat or protein. He recommends cutting a couple of slices of avocado and putting it on a rice cake or swapping the avocado for a spoonful of almond butter if you’re in the mood for something sweeter.
Roasted chickpeas are an awesome bedtime snack. Falling under the complex carb umbrella, chickpeas have high levels of magnesium, which helps maintain high levels of GABA—a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. On top of that, chickpeas are rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that serves as a precursor to serotonin.
Breakfast for dinner? Yes, breakfast for dinner. Eggs are a good source of melatonin, which as we’ve already mentioned, helps you fall asleep. Eggs also contain an amino acid called L-ornithine, which has been shown to improve sleep quality. Your sleep will also benefit if you toss some melatonin-rich veggies on your omelets, such as broccoli and asparagus.