Can’t sleep? One of the best things you can do is have a snack. Researchers don’t suggest breaking open the fridge for leftovers or making a full meal, as your digestive system slows down at night, meaning too much food could make you uncomfortable. Plus, if you’ve already eaten dinner, you should opt for a healthy snack that will help aid sleep rather than tack on the calories or fat.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most effective and healthy snacks you can eat for a better night’s sleep. Some might surprise you, but once you give them a try, we doubt you’ll go back to cereal or spoonfuls of ice cream.
1. Scrambled eggs If you’re in the mood for something hot and delicious, scrambled eggs are the best choice. They’re lean, but also rich in protein which will help you stay satisfied throughout the night and sleep soundly. Pair it with a little cheese or toast if you want the added benefit of foods that increase the secretion of serotonin.
2. Peanut Butter sandwich The amino acid tryptophan — the one famously found in turkey — is also in protein-rich peanut butter. This little amino acid helps your brain make melatonin which causes sleepiness. Pair it with some whole grain bread for added carbohydrates and you’ll send even more tryptophan to your brain, helping you sleep soundly. 3. Cottage cheese and fruit Before bed, you want to reach for foods that are high in lean protein, and cottage cheese is a great healthy choice. The protein will keep you feeling full, but it’s also packed with the amino acid tryptophan for boosting serotonin. You can also top it off with fruit that’s rich in tryptophan, too, like raspberries, cherries, bananas or pineapple slices. 4. Hummus and carrots The main ingredient in hummus is the chickpea, which is high in protein and fiber. The American Society of Agronomy found that this high protein and fiber intake not only helps keep you full overnight, but is a great source of tryptophan. Use carrots for an extra dose of veggies, or crackers if you need the carbs. 5. Cheese and crackers
Your mom was probably onto something when she’d hand you a glass of warm milk to go to sleep. Turns out, dairy products can help you sleep because the calcium in it helps your brain use the tryptophan to trigger melatonin production. A cheese stick or couple slices will do, but you can also pair it with a few crackers for extra sleep-inducing carbs.
6. Bananas, almonds, and walnuts
Nuts aren’t just packed with protein that can keep you full and induce sleep, but certain nuts even contain their own properties that can boost your sleep even further. For example, researchers found that walnuts actually have their own source of melatonin. And almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral which is needed for quality sleep. You can keep your snack sweet by adding a banana, a fruit that is naturally rich is tryptophan.
Did you know that among other health benefits like vitamins and antioxidants, American grown pistachios actually contain melatonin? Melatonin is a hormone that plays a key role in helping your body maintain a healthy sleep cycle. This makes pistachios the perfect guilt-free late night snack.