What to Eat Before Bed; 6 Delicious Snacks to Help You Sleep
Table of Contents
Finding the proper bedtime routine that cultivates the perfect night’s sleep can sometimes feel like an exhausting task in itself. From avoiding blue light to nighttime affirmation, meditation and more, there is no shortage of advice to help you wind down for bed.
However, one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve sleep quality is by making sure your bedtime snack is on point.
Here are the food items that you can easily incorporate into your nighttime routine and avoid to help you enjoy a restful sleep.
Make Mindfulness Easy
Join over 50’000 people on their meditation journey.
Is It Ok to Eat Before Bed?
If you’re feeling hungry before bed, there’s no reason to punish yourself by trying to sleep with a growling stomach, but you should be aware that a couple of factors like what and when you eat can affect your sleep quality.
Choosing foods that have a natural source of melatonin will help you fall asleep faster and for longer. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body that induces sleep and lowers stress levels. Certain foods such as banana’s, fish and nuts can be beneficial in facilitating your body’s natural release of melatonin.
Eating before bed can also help maintain your blood sugar levels which will help you wake up with more energy, reducing that morning grogginess.
However, there are other factors to consider, such as eating salty foods, which can cause you to become dehydrated at night, causing you to wake up and need water.
You should also keep in mind that eating right before getting into bed can have a negative impact on your metabolism. As you get ready for sleep, your body starts to slow down its functions. Eating can disrupt this process and cause you to stay awake longer as your metabolism speeds back up.
How Long Before Bed Should I Eat?
In an ideal world, you should wait about three hours after eating before going to bed. This is because eating promotes the release of insulin that plays a vital role in your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is basically your internal body clock, letting you know when you should wake up and fall asleep.
But of course, this isn’t always possible, and there will be times when you’ll need a late-night snack before bed either because you’re too hungry to wait or it’s too late to eat dinner. Either way, by choosing food with sleep-promoting effects, you’ll be less likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
Best Foods to Eat Before Bed
The best foods to eat before bed are ones that promote better sleep without causing any discomfort. When it comes to food, the key is to balance your brain’s chemistry so that you can fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.
1. Cereal (carbohydrate)
Eating something with carbs like whole-grain cereal before bed will make you feel more full and less likely to binge on unhealthy snacks during the night.
The carbs in cereal also promote serotonin levels which will help you relax, improve your mood and make it easier for you to fall asleep.
However, make sure to avoid sugary cereals as sugar is a stimulant and will keep you awake longer.
Banana’s are a great source of tryptophan which is an amino acid that helps promote sleep. They also contain magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6, which help reduce stress and stabilise the brain’s chemistry.
Bananas are also high in fibre, making them a better option than most other foods for promoting sleep.
They’ll help your body feel more full and will keep you satiated longer without causing indigestion in the morning.
Egg’s are also an excellent source of tryptophan which helps promote sleep and also help regulate your body’s hormones. Egg yolks contain omega-3 fatty acids, which promote relaxation and aid sleep.
Eggs are also a great source of protein that helps you feel satiated, meaning you won’t need to head back to the fridge or pantry for something else to eat while trying to get to sleep..
A glass of warm milk before bed has been a tradition for centuries for a reason. Milk also contains melatonin, a hormone your body produces that helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
A glass of milk before bed can also be part of a consistent nighttime routine. Having a bedtime ritual helps you to prepare your body and your mind for sleep.
5. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart Cherry Juice is another great source of the amino acid tryptophan, and it’s packed full of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.
You can either buy it whole or as a concentrate. Studies have shown that tart cherry juice may well be the most effective natural product you can take to help sleep.
6. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is a well-established solution to help achieve deep sleep. This is because it contains an antioxidant called apigenin, a natural tranquilliser that allows your body to relax and fall asleep.
Other calming teas that can help improve your quality of sleep include; Lavender, mint and valerian root.
Foods to Avoid Before Bed
Now we’ve established what you can consume to help you get to sleep, let’s have a look at a few food items you should avoid at night. These foods can increase your stress levels which will stimulate the body and leave you awake.
Alcohol can be used to help you unwind at the end of the day, but it’s best not to drink anything with alcohol before bed due to its effects on your sleep cycles.
Consuming alcohol before bed can also keep you up later than you mean to be up and stop you from falling asleep, which means that when morning arrives, you’ll wake up feeling worse for wear.
Having some after-dinner chocolate as a form of a dessert is a pretty common occurrence. However, if you’re going to do this, try to be aware of the time of day and stick to the three-hour rule, as chocolate contains high amounts of caffeine, making it one of the worst foods to have before bed.
3. Spicy food.
Eating spicy food right before bed can cause heartburn, nausea, stomach cramps and headaches. Capsaicin, the compound in chilli’s that make them hot, have been shown to raise body temperature, which is the opposite thing your body is trying to do when it’s trying to cool itself and fall asleep.
Crisps are high in sodium, a mineral that can affect the balance of fluids in your body, known as electrolytes. Consuming high amounts of salt before bed can cause us to become dehydrated and raise our blood pressure, which won’t help you fall asleep and leave you feeling hungrier when you wake up.
- Try to eat at least three hours before bed to maximise sleep duration and quality sleep.
- Eat food that promotes sleep. Look for food sources that contain sources of tryptophan, apigenin and find anything that increases melatonin levels.
- Reduce caffeine intake, acidic foods and anything high in salt to promote a healthy nights sleep.
MindEasy founder & meditation teacher