What to Eat + Avoid Before Bed

Late at night, I often get the urge to snack (don’t we all), but our sleep is very dependent on how we treat our bodies the last few hours before bed.

Here is my list of the BEST late-night snacks and what to avoid.


BEST:

  1. Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries are rich in melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone, as well as antioxidants to help you catch some z’s. A research study found that adults suffering from insomnia who drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily, slept 85 minutes longer compared to a placebo (Louisiana State University). Try blending up a smoothie of tart cherries, frozen or juiced, with bananas and vegan protein for a satiating snack.

  1. Banana and Almond Butter

Bananas and almond butter are both excellent sources of magnesium. It’s been reported that nearly 70% of adults aren’t consuming enough magnesium in their diets, which has been linked to insomnia and muscle cramps. In addition, the potassium from bananas will help combat those dreaded middle of the night Charlie horses!

  1. Turkey

You know that feeling of immediately needing to dose off after Thanksgiving dinner? It may be in part from an amino acid in turkey called tryptophan, which produces sleep-promoting serotonin and melatonin. Granted I wouldn’t recommend eating a holiday feast directly before bed, but some turkey and hummus roll ups may do the tryptophan trick.

  1. Popcorn

In case you needed another reason for a Netflix night, be sure to bring the popcorn. At only 30-40 calories per cup, air-popped popcorn is an ideal late night snack food. The carbs in popcorn stimulate the release of insulin, which has been proven to regulate your circadian clock. It’s also high in fiber, which will satisfy you longer than a bag of chips or pretzels would. Bonus if you sprinkle on some metabolism-boosting cinnamon or paprika.

WORST:

  1. Curry

Winter is coming and all we want to do is cozy up with some curry. But not so fast – It’s not Indian food per se, but the heavy spices associated with it that can keep you up at night. Hot sauce and flaming flavors are associated with trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and increased heartburn. My advice is to order something milder or eat early enough so that your body can digest.

  1. Sugary Cereal

Sometimes a bowl of cereal is the easiest way to start and end your day. But you’re better off sticking to a low sugar variety, like our cereal & puffs cups. Sugary cereals can digest rapidly in your system, spiking your blood sugar, and throwing off your sleep hormones. Plus, sugar makes you crave sugar. So you may be up sooner than later for that “morning” bowl!

  1. Wine

Or any alcohol for that matter… While a glass or two of wine may initially make you feel sleepy, alcohol in general will disrupt your sleep patterns. Regularly consuming it before bed can worsen your sleep quality and lead you to one-too-many midnight bathroom trips.

  1. Fatty Foods

Sometimes this comes as a result of aforementioned alcohol, but any fatty foods (i.e. pizza, cheeseburgers) are going to be bad bedtime news. Dietary fats, especially saturated fats, take a long time to digest. Instead of slowing down and focusing on sleep, your body will be stuck working overtime. If you do have the munchies, focus on one of our BEST options and save the bacon for brunch!

Sources:
Time
Prevention
Health
Food Network

Sweet Dreams!

October 02, 2017 — Brigid McEntee