Need A Better Night's Sleep? - Best Snacks To Help You Sleep
We all want to sleep like a baby but the older we get, and the busier and more stressful our lives become, that good nights sleep is more and more elusive. There are a ton of over the counter sleep aids and every kind of pillow, mattress, blanket and sleep sound idea available to help you get that sleep. But before you spend your money on those just try a simple idea of snacking your way to a better nights sleep.
The right diet during the day can help you sleep but adding the correct balanced simple snack before bed can help you get that extra push you need to have a wonderful night's sleep. The keys to the bedtime snack are detailed below as well as some snack ideas and even some sleep relaxation videos.
Key #1: Keep the snack small.
A better nights sleep starts with the right snack so you can forget about the old adage about not eating before bed, but it has to be the right snack to get those zzzz's.
The first rule of bedtime snacking is to keep it small. The ideal bedtime sleep snack is about 150-200 calories. A 2015 study in Nutrients found that a small healthy snack may actually help you build muscle and increase or maintain a healthy metabolic rate. Another study done at Florida State University found that in men a small healthy snack before bed actually helped them to have a higher metabolic rate in the morning those who ate nothing the night before.
2 Snack Ideas
Here are 2 easy bedtime snacks to get that metabolism and your sleep going:
1. 6 ounces of plain yogurt + 1 tablespoon honey + 1/2 banana
2. 1 small apple + 1 tablespoon of a nut butter
Key #2: Eat smart during the day
When you get a good night's rest you will feel less need for caffeine and sugar throughout your day. It is a vicious circle that happens when we don't get enough sleep we need that caffeine and sugar to boost us during the day but that same thing is what is often contributing to the bad nights sleep.
Break this cycle by cutting down on caffeine, sugar and alcohol during the day and evening and replacing that with foods that are high in omega-3's (such as fatty fish, nuts and seeds), vitamin D (such as fortified dairy and eggs) and magnesium (such as dark leafy greens, nuts and beans). Studies have shown that consumption of these foods will help your body to fall asleep faster and break that caffeine cycle.
2 More Snack Ideas
Here are a few more great bedtime snack combos:
3. 1/2 ounce walnuts + 1/2 ounce raisins
4. 1/4 cup granola + 1/4 cup milk
Key #3: Find The Balance
The perfect bedtime snack is about the balance between carbs and protein. A great bedtime snack is one of the times it is good to go heavy on the carbs. This is because the carbs will raise your blood sugar levels slightly which then triggers your body to releas tryptophan which is a sleep inducing chemical, like all that turkey at Thanksgiving.
The trick for the bedtime snack is to consider the first two keys from above and then balance whole food based carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. The protein should be about a quarter if the calories of the snack.
2 More Snack Combo Ideas
Here are a few more bedtime snack ideas that are quick, easy and tasty:
5. 4 ounces tart cherry juice + 1 string cheese stick
6. 1/2 cup jasmine rice + a few bites of chicken (or tofu)
Achieving a good night's sleep on a consistent schedule is important to your overall health and mental well being but it is much easier to say than to accomplish. There can be many factors that affect you getting that restful night's sleep and you will need to focus on trying to put aside distractions and stressors before you go to bed. But the addition of a simple and smart snack before bed might be that little something extra you need to get that peaceful and rejuvenating sleep you need.
Reducing the caffeine, sugar and alcohol you consume during the day combined with a healthy diet will not only help you have a better night's sleep but also a healthier life overall. There are many bedtime snack options you can try but these six suggestions should help you get that sleep cycle going!