Getting quality sleep is critical for maintaining overall health. When you sleep, that's your body's time to repair muscles, organs, and other vital cells. Sleep is also critical for remembering information you learned that day as well as keeping your mental health in check.
When you add eating to your nighttime routine, it’s all the more important to bring awareness to each act. Consuming nutrient-rich foods at night can also be beneficial for heart health and even muscle recovery after exercise.
It’s all about choosing foods that support restful sleep and taking a mindful approach to eating that late-night snack.
Let's take a look at what food should and shouldn’t be eaten before going to bed.
• Banana with Almond Butter
Almonds and bananas are excellent sources of magnesium. Magnesium is believed to play a role in regulating the timekeeping system of plants, animals, and humans, and may have benefits for sleep. A serving size of a banana and one ounce of almonds provides just over 100 milligrams of magnesium. Bananas are also rich in potassium, which can improve sleep quality in women especially.
Hot or cold oatmeal might help prepare your body for sleep and keep you full throughout the night. Oats contain magnesium as well as melatonin, the sleep hormone. Consider making a batch of overnight oats with dried fruits and seeds for a simple nighttime snack option.
• Avoid too much carbs
Consuming a ton of refined carbs such as deep-dish pizza or a big bowl of potato chips as you prepare to go to sleep isn't the best idea, because these types of foods are harder to digest, so it's not ideal to eat them right as your body's metabolism is shifting gears. Rather, try eating a small amount of complex carbs such as one serving of full-fat Greek yogurt with some nuts and a little granola. Satiating but not gut-busting, this is a great choice to help induce sleep.
One of the most famous sources of tryptophan (an amino acid that is related to sleep quality. Tryptophan helps improve sleep by helping make melatonin and serotonin), turkey is often recommended as being among the best foods to eat before bed. (When we eat foods that contain tryptophan, this amino acid travels in the blood from the digestive system and later enters the brain. The brain then changes the tryptophan into serotonin. Serotonin calms us down and helps us sleep)
• Nuts and Seeds
High-sodium diets are linked to poorer sleep quality. Unsalted nuts and or seeds might be a good substitute for salty snacks like potato chips.
Pistachios contain the highest amount of melatonin within the nut family. Pistachios also contain tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds also contain tryptophan. Sprinkling pumpkin seeds on your oats or yogurt give an added crunchy texture. Walnuts also have a high melatonin content that can lead to a longer night of uninterrupted sleep.
• Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that offers a variety of health benefits.
It’s well known for its flavones. Flavones are a class of antioxidants that reduce the inflammation that often leads to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. There’s also some evidence that drinking chamomile tea boosts your immune system, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves skin health. In addition to that, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality.
• Do not eat fatty, spicy, and acidic foods
Individuals who experience acid reflux should have their last meal several hours before bed and avoid common trigger foods such as mint or foods that are spicy, fatty, or highly acidic.
• Avoid alcohol
Alcoholic drinks may help you fall asleep initially, but alcohol can shorten your overall sleep duration, affect sleep quality, and potentially exacerbate symptoms of certain sleep disorders. Try switching to herbal teas or water a few hours before bed.
Several foods and drinks contain sleep-regulating hormones and brain chemicals, such as melatonin and serotonin. Some foods and drinks contain high amounts of specific antioxidants and nutrients, such as magnesium and melatonin, that are known to enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep faster or stay asleep longer.
To reap the benefits of sleep-enhancing foods and drinks, it may be best to consume them 2–3 hours before bed. Eating immediately before going to sleep may cause digestive issues, such as acid reflux.
Eating habits before going to bed.