6 Bedtime Snacks That Help You Sleep Better
Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and offers countless health benefits, affecting everything from your mood and productivity to your heart and weight. Even though many people know it’s important to get a good night’s sleep, six out of 10 Americans report having sleep problems, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Having a small bedtime snack can help you drift off into more restful slumber. These six foods contain naturally-occurring substances that may help you sleep better:
- Milk: Dairy and fortified nut milks are rich in calcium, a key mineral that helps you achieve and remain in the deepest levels of sleep. Any food containing calcium helps, including cheese, yogurt and other calcium-rich foods like kale and green leafy vegetables.
- Bananas: The potassium and magnesium in bananas naturally help muscles relax. The fruit also contains L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid that aids the body in producing serotonin, which helps you fall into deep REM sleep.
- Cherries: One research study showed that tart cherry juice increased the amount of sleep participants got (participants slept an average of 84 more minutes per night). This is due to the natural presence of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are a natural source of melatonin and a good source of L-tryptophan. Other good sources of L-tryptophan include pumpkin seeds and peanut butter.
- Pistachios: These tasty green nuggets are loaded with vitamin B-6 and contain unsaturated fat. Both improve serotonin levels, an important regulator of the sleep-wake cycle.
- Hummus: Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), the main ingredient in hummus, are rich in several nutrients that are important in regulating sleep cycles, including folate, vitamin B-6 and L-tryptophan.
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Date Last Reviewed: March 15, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN