The 5 Healthiest Bedtime Snacks for Better Sleep, According to Nutritionist
Bedtime snack is not always a bad idea. In fact, the right kind of snack may act as a sleeping potion of sorts that lulls you softly into your dream world. If you’re someone who struggles with glucose control, are often awoken by hunger pains, or are trying to increase your muscle mass, sometimes a late-night snack can be a good thing. In general, we recommend keeping it small, at about 200 calories. If you can incorporate protein, it can help repair and rebuild muscles in need of a tune-up thanks to the release of human growth hormone while you snooze. Below, find five snacks that fit the bill.
1. Milk (Dairy and Non-dairy)
Milk is one of the major sources of calcium which is important for your joints and bone health. In addition, it contains amino acids called tryptophan and helps to produce melatonin in our body that is responsible to keep us asleep like a baby at night. Whether is dairy (full-cream, skimmed, low-fat, etc.) or plant-based milk (oat, almond, soy, etc.), both sources of milk could help you to tuck in for the night. Besides that, in a research done on the Japanese population, plant-based milk or diet that contains certain types of proteins, has shown to help in improving sleep quality. This works through the effect of the protein on your body’s sleep hormones, neurotransmitters that are responsible for your sleep activities and improves body compositions.
You can either drink your milk at a warm or cold temperature. If you want to add a little bit of aroma, you can add milk to a cup of chamomile tea.
Bananas are known to contain high magnesium and potassium, which can help your muscles to relax. They are also rich in fibres and a great source of prebiotic for your friendly gut bacteria for a smooth sailing digestive health. Eating carbohydrates with a banana, such as peanut butter, could make the amino acids more available to your brain, hence, increasing your ability to sleep—so this treat is a sleep-aid wonder. Magnesium, in addition to supporting your energy levels, also works to ease muscle cramps and spasms, though it can also increase your levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, a neurotransmitter (chemical messengers that transmit a message from a nerve cell to a targeted cell) that can help to you to rewind and relax.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews are often considered to be a good food for sleep. Though the exact amounts can vary, nuts contain melatonin as well as essential minerals like magnesium and zinc that are essential to a range of bodily processes. In a clinical trial using supplements, it was found that a combination of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc helped older adults with insomnia get better sleep. So, go nuts before you hit the snooze!
When the moon is high in the sky. Eating an egg as a source of protein before bed could help you sleep better. Research found that if you eat a little bit of protein at night before you got to sleep—maybe about 6 grams of protein, which is the equivalent of an egg—it gives you a nice blood-sugar balance through most of the night. Women are particularly susceptible to glucose dysregulation, the body produces cortisol (the stress hormone), which can wake you up.
If you eat a little bit of protein at night before you go to sleep, it gives you a nice blood-sugar balance through most of the night. Just 6 grams of protein can set you up to sleep through the night, but if you’re not too keen on scrambled eggs after dark, you can snack in other forms. A handful of cashews, a large scoop of Greek yogurt, or 1/2 cup of roasted chickpeas does the trick as a bedtime snack with a serving of protein. With any luck, a little protein before bed will help you sleep all night long.
Beans and other legumes are packed with vitamin Bs, such as B6, B12, and folic acid—all of which help you to regulate your sleep-wake cycles and boost your natural levels of serotonin, a feel-good, relaxing hormone. Tip: You don't need to cook up a pound of lentils to get your daily dose of B(s). Other sources of the B vitamins in the same legume family include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lupins, mesquite, carob, soy, and peanuts.