8 Healthy Bedtime Snacks That Actually Improve Your Sleep
Hunger is a common cause of lost or interrupted sleep at night. If you find that you have trouble relaxing and falling asleep at night, or wake up with a growling stomach, then a light, healthy, sleep-inducing snack may help you get the rest you need. However, overeating, or eating certain foods too close to bedtime can also steal needed hours of rest, so it is important to know the right foods that can help promote sleep and keep you healthy.
Here are 8 great, healthy snacks you can enjoy at bedtime to help promote better quality sleep:
- Plain rice mixed with warm milk
According to a study published by the journal Plos One, a diet containing high glycemic index foods such as rice has been proven to promote better sleep. Rice causes your body to increase melatonin production, which is a natural sleep hormone, and helps you relax and fall asleep better at night. If you are feeling hungry close to bedtime, warm up a small cup of plain rice and mix in some warm milk for a comforting snack.
- Kiwi and cottage cheese
Kiwi is considered a super fruit due to all the health benefits the tiny, fuzzy fruit provides. Among these benefits is better sleep. According to research published in Men’s Health, people who ate two kiwis one hour before bedtime, decreased the amount of time it took them to fall asleep by more than 35 percent. The study also found that those who ate kiwi before bed woke up less, slept more soundly, and slept over 13 percent longer. Slice up a kiwi or two, and pair it with half a cup of cottage cheese for a sweet, creamy, dreamy bedtime snack.
- Spice dusted popcorn
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy and fulfilling snack any time of day. In the evening, you can pair a cup of fresh popped popcorn with sleep inducing spices to help you relax and fall asleep with ease. Try dusting your popcorn with cinnamon or paprika for a tasty, satisfying treat that will help you sleep better.
- Smooth soup or warm broth
Warm soup is a great bedtime snack, as it is a food that is innately relaxing since it is so warm and soothing. Smooth soups made from easy to digest vegetables such as butternut squash or clear, tasty broths are best before bedtime. Avoid soups that have beans, noodles, or lentils, as these foods can take your body too long to digest, and actually hinder your sleep. Warm up a cup of soup if you feel your stomach grumbling before bed, and enjoy this healthy, comforting snack before a good night’s sleep.
- Herbal tea and dried fruit
Drinking caffeine-free, herbal tea also a great step to add to your pre-sleep relaxation routine. According to Dream Studies Press, chamomile is an herb used to promote mental calmness and can help aid in relaxation before a restful night’s sleep. Ginger is also a great choice, as it helps with digestion and can settle your stomach before bed. Brew a hot cup of chamomile or ginger tea at bedtime, and pair it with a handful of dried fruits for relaxing experience, and a great night of sleep.
- Cherries or natural cherry juice
Cherries or natural, tart cherry juice are both excellent bedtime snack choices. Cherries naturally contain melatonin, so having a serving before bed can help you relax and wind down for sleep.
- Banana smoothie
Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium, which both help muscles relax naturally. Milk is high in calcium and Vitamin D, which both help promote restful sleep. For a relaxing and healthy bedtime treat, blend up a banana with some milk for a tasty, sleep-friendly smoothie.
- Sweet potato and almond butter
According to Health.com, sweet potatoes are a great bedtime snack because they are a complex carbohydrate and packed with potassium. Warm up a few slices of a baked sweet potato, and add a dollop of almond butter for a sleep-inducing, and healthy bedtime bite.
If you have troubles with falling asleep or getting enough several nights a week, over the course of a couple of months, then you could be suffering from a sleep disorder such as insomnia. Contacting a professional sleep expert for a sleep study and treatment can help you get your sleep back on track.