On top of the stress of a busy day, tomorrow’s obligations tend to pile up in your head, keeping you awake when you should be sleeping. You know the feeling. Even if you’re beyond tired, you can’t stop thinking. But there is a way to prep your mind and body for a restful night’s sleep, and it may come as a surprise: a bedtime snack!
You may have been told that you shouldn’t eat anything after dinner, but contrary to that belief, a small, healthy snack before you go to bed can help ensure a full night of rest. And if you have kids, giving them a healthy snack as part of their bedtime ritual can help them settle down, too.
What Foods Make the Best Bedtime Snacks?
Try one of these guilt-free bedtime snacks about 45 minutes before shut-eye:
- Half a banana and a few raw almonds
- Peanut butter with apple slices
- Cheddar cheese on a whole-wheat cracker
- Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Low-fat yogurt with fresh berries
- Hummus with sliced cucumbers
- A serving of cherries
- Whole-grain toast with almond butter
- Whipped warm milk
- Chamomile tea
Mix up the combinations to suit your taste. For example, try sliced bananas with peanut butter, apples with cheese, or almonds with cherries.
These foods provide a relaxing effect for various reasons. Seeds and cheese contain tryptophan, which converts to melatonin in our system to promote sleep. Cherries and bananas contain melatonin as well. Almonds have a slight muscle-relaxing effect, and dairy products contain calcium, which helps keep you asleep.
Tip: Avoid snack time messes by washing your dishes with Dawn Ultra Dish Soap before you hit the hay. The powerful formula helps you get through more dishes with less dishwashing liquid, so you can wake up to a clean, empty sink.
Snacks You Should Avoid at Night
You might be tempted to reach for a cookie before bed, but this high-sugar carb will create a crash after a temporary energy boost — just the opposite of what you want. Eat or drink these foods or beverages no later than midday to prevent troubled sleep patterns:
- Caffeinated teas, sodas and coffee
- Sugary snacks, candy or cookies
- Chocolate (which contains both sugar and caffeine)
Regardless of the time of day, remember to reach for snacks low in fat and sugar, and keep the portions small. If you follow these guidelines before bedtime, a snack could help you settle in, sleep better and wake up feeling more rested.
What snacks do you reach for before bed? Share your tips in the comments section.