Lifestyle

Best Late-Night Snacks and Foods That Will Improve Sleep Quality

19. Honey Honey can add so much sweet flavor to any dish while giving you benefits as you eat it. Raw and unfiltered honey can actually… Trista - May 30, 2022
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19. Honey

Honey can add so much sweet flavor to any dish while giving you benefits as you eat it. Raw and unfiltered honey can actually soothe your throat, hydrate your skin, and help heal wounds. Not only that, but when eaten just before going to bed, raw honey can help you get a good night’s sleep. Honey helps your brain release melatonin, and we know how vital melatonin is when it comes to sleep. The melatonin is due to honey’s sugar that spikes insulin levels, which then releases tryptophan, becoming serotonin, resulting in melatonin. Raw honey provides fuel to your brain throughout the night as you sleep. Low levels of glycogen tell your brain that it’s time to eat, but honey helps restock your liver’s glycogen. If you haven’t eaten anything in several hours before bed, you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night from hunger. But if you were to consume a spoonful of honey before bed, you’d find yourself sleeping throughout the night without waking up hungry. 

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18. Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes are probably one of the last things you would think of when it comes to a bedtime snack unless it is potato chips. You may want to think again when it comes to spuds, sweet potatoes, that is, and late-night snacking. They will be a gamechanger if you find that you struggle with sleep. This is due to their unique combination of nutrients that help prevent blood sugars from rapidly fluctuating, as well as support the production of sleep-promoting hormones and neurotransmitters. The nutrients make them a great tryptophan food for sleep. These potatoes also have just the right balance of nutrients like vitamin B6 and potassium to stimulate the production of serotonin and melatonin to help promote a good night’s sleep. 

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17. Eggs

When you consume foods right before bed high in fat and carbs and low in protein, you’re not doing yourself and your sleep any favors. That’s because snacks high in carbs and fat cause blood sugar spikes, which can wake you up throughout the night. You may not think of eggs as a bedtime snack, but you might want to switch it up and add eating an egg into your bedtime routine. Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help you snooze more deeply and longer. Six grams of protein is the perfect amount to keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the night, and that’s actually how many grams are also in one egg. They are also gentle on your digestive system. Both the yolk and the whites of an egg also contain other nutrients and antioxidants that help to improve your sleep quality.  

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16. Almonds

Not only are almonds crunchy, tasty, and can be filling, but eating a handful may also help boost your sleep quality. Along with several other types of nuts, almonds are also a source of melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone. This popular nut is also an excellent source of magnesium, which, when consuming adequate amounts of this nutrient, can help to improve sleep, too. This sleeping trick is beneficial for those who have insomnia. It’s thought that magnesium can help aid sleep due to its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Doctors suggest that magnesium may also help reduce the stress hormone cortisol levels, which can interrupt sleep. 

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15. Cherry Juice

Studies reveal that tart cherry juice can actually help improve your sleep quality and duration. Plus, it can help reduce the need for taking a nap during the day. A study found that adults who drank just two one-ounce servings of cherry juice per day experienced an increase in their sleep efficiency and a 39-minute increase in average sleep duration. There were 20 participants in this study for seven days. They would drink cherry juice twice a day on each of the seven days, drinking one when they first woke up and the second before going to bed. Some received a drink that contained 1 ounce of tart cherry juice with 1 pint of water, while others received a placebo drink. Those who received the cherry juice drink slept longer, napped less, and spent more of their time in bed asleep. Others who received the placebo drink didn’t show any changes in their sleep habits. Those who drank the juice showed an increase in their melatonin levels, indicating that drinking this juice boosts the body’s own melatonin levels. 

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14. Kale

You may not think of eating some leafy greens before bed, and crawling into bed with a bowl of salad sounds a bit silly. As popular as kale continues to be in grocery stores when it comes to greens, it’s not as known to the public about it also being good for your sleep. Doctors tout this vegetable as one of the most nutrient-packed foods on the planet. Kale has tons of vitamins and minerals that help support health in general, including your sleep. Just one cup of kale chopped up contains 10% RDI of vitamin B6, plus lots of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which can help with sleep quality, as well. In addition to those nutrients that help support sleep, kale also contains massive amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, and even small amounts of omega 3s and iron. 

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13. Popcorn

Eating snacks that are high in calories, such as candy bars and chips at night, isn’t such a good idea if you haven’t figured that out already. The issue with eating these types of foods stems from the way the body processes them overnight. Eating popcorn before bed isn’t necessarily a bad idea, though. If you are going to eat it before going to bed, you should keep your portion small. It would be best if you avoided toppings that have high-calorie content. Try to buy the popcorn that has low-fat content, and avoid the ones with added sugars. Your best bet for the healthiest popcorn to eat before bed is when you cook it at home, over the stove. Store-bought packets have loads of extra sugars and fats designed to make the food taste better. However, these additional ingredients will eventually get in the way of your sleep. 

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12. Hummus

Do you find yourself craving a salty snack near bedtime but not really feeling popcorn? One satisfying and even healthy snack is hummus. Its main ingredient is garbanzo beans, which are legumes rich in protein and fiber that researchers link to benefits to your health. These health benefits hummus has to offer include reducing blood sugar, which can help with sleep quality and blood clots. Eating it can help keep your weight in check, as well. Looking for something both salty and crunchy? Pair this dip with pretzels or an even healthier option, carrots or peppers. Keep reading for the best late-night snacks and foods that can help improve your sleep quality.

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11. Pineapple

As discussed above, when consuming melatonin, there may be an increase in the concentration of melatonin in your blood. Now, this hormone doesn’t just magically make you feel sleepy. However, it can help reset your circadian rhythm, which doctors also refer to as your 24-hour wake and sleep cycle. Pineapple has tons of melatonin, so munching on some before bed could help you sleep better and wake up feeling more rested. The increase in the concentration of melatonin made by the pineapple signals your body that it’s time for sleep. 

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10. Sunflower Seeds

Who at night thinks to themselves, “I’m hungry, I want to eat some sunflowers before going to bed…”? It doesn’t sound like the usual bedtime snack for most of us, but you might want to change your mind about that. Sunflower seeds are rich in tryptophan. As you may have read above, tryptophan is a chemical that promotes a better night’s sleep. When you eat food that contains this protein, it converts into serotonin once it reaches the brain. There are plenty of different flavors that sunflowers come in, too. So you won’t have to settle for just plain or salty seeds if you’d prefer something with more flavor. 

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9. Peanut Butter

Most people know that peanut butter is healthier than chocolate toppings or dips. Eating peanut butter before bed, whether it’s just a spoonful of it or it’s on a slice of toast, is actually a good idea if you want a snack before sleeping. That’s because it is a good source of both healthy fats and protein, which can help you to stay full throughout the night. In turn, this helps keep you from waking up feeling hungry. Peanuts are monounsaturated fats, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Not only that, but this nut also contains several minerals, including iron, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium, which can help promote good sleep. They are also a good source of the amino acid tryptophan. The body requires tryptophan to produce two crucial sleep hormones, melatonin and serotonin, so consuming food that contains this protein before bed is a good idea. 

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8. Lentils

Lentils are probably the last thing you think about eating as a snack, no matter what time of the day it is, let alone right before bed. It’s safe to say that eating them before going to sleep could be a good idea. They contain a high source of magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant, and calcium that helps make melatonin from tryptophan in the brain. Lentils also contain folate, which helps with melatonin metabolism and many other nutrients. Besides containing these things, they also have a high amount of starchy carbohydrates and proteins that help with satiety and increase resting metabolic rate, which can help with weight loss. Keep reading for the best late-night snacks and foods that can help improve your sleep quality.

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7. Cheese

A study found that cheese is actually perfectly fine and maybe even good to consume before bed. Researchers explored how cheese influences sleep and dreaming. They found that the impact cheese had on sleep was positive with regard to dreams, instead of adverse effects, which some believe happens if we eat a meal and go to sleep right after. The majority of those who participated in this study claimed to have positive results from consuming cheese just before sleeping. Researchers concluded that cheese does, in fact, promote good sleep. It also contains tryptophan, which we now know is an essential amino acid when it comes to sleeping. 

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6. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are another food many of us don’t think about when it comes to bedtime snacking. However, if you do not want to snack on them before bed, you can always add them to your dinner recipe. With complex carbs, eating chickpeas can actually help our bodies produce serotonin. While many of us may associate serotonin more with moods and how we feel, the neurotransmitter actually converts to melatonin in the brain’s pineal gland. Research shows that low levels of serotonin can actually prevent us from falling asleep and staying asleep. Chickpeas also contain high levels of magnesium. Magnesium also plays a role in more than 300 diverse biochemical reactions in the body, which control everything from regulating blood pressure and blood sugar and from energy production to sleep.

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5. Lettuce Water

We all know what lettuce is, but have you ever heard of lettuce water? That’s right; you make it the same as you would tea by steeping the leaves of lettuce in hot water. After making your drink, remove the wilted lettuce, and bam! Lettuce water! If you aren’t fond of the taste or want to add a little something more for flavor, add peppermint to the tea for a more soothing taste. This sleeping trick may work because lettuce contains something called lactucarium, which can make you feel sleepy. Lactucarium has a similar structure to opium and even has some sedative properties as well. However, a scientist states you would have to drink quite a bit of lettuce water to really have much of an effect. 

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4. Pistachios

Although pistachios have often been touted as a natural sleep aid, thanks to the melatonin that they contain, there have only been two studies done that evaluated, specifically, the melatonin content of pistachios. One study in 2014 estimated that a 3.5-ounce serving, or 100 grams, of pistachios that were shelled contained 23 mg of melatonin. The American Pistachio Growers performed another study and measured the amount of melatonin in a pistachio using two methods. They reported that both raw and roasted pistachios contained 0.0034-0.066 mg of melatonin per serving. Keep reading for the best late-night snacks and foods that can help improve your sleep quality.

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3. Salmon

Besides being delicious, salmon also has some health benefits to offer. That includes all of the benefits that omega-three fatty acids offer since salmon is an excellent source of it. These healthy fats deliver a significant number of health benefits, including lowering inflammation, boosting brain function, and elevating your mood. Omega 3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids, also known as essential fats, and play an essential role in cell function. Since your body can’t produce this type of fat, you must get your source from foods and supplements. A more powerful benefit omega 3s have to offer the body is their ability to reduce inflammation. Experts link it to a range of diseases, from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Furthermore, they discovered that omega 3s might improve sleep quality and quantity in adults. By eating salmon, even at dinnertime rather than at bedtime, you can be helping to improve your sleep quality.

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2. Rice

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, research suggests that eating about 2 ½ cups of white rice 4 hours before going to sleep could actually help you fall asleep faster than you would without consuming anything before bed. That’s a lot of rice, though, and eating that much right before bed could adversely affect your metabolism, causing you to gain weight over time. The good news? You don’t have to eat that much to impact your body positively. Try even eating just a tiny amount of carbs. You may still find that to be helpful. This sleep trick could be because your brain uses carbs to make serotonin, promoting feelings of relaxation and calmness. 

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1. Collard Greens

Collard greens are another food that not many, if anyone, would really think of eating as a bedtime snack. However, thanks to the choline content in them, you may want to reconsider eating a bowl of fresh collard greens before going to sleep. You might be able to help yourself sleep and function more effectively if you were to maintain a diet that contains a lot of this vegetable. Choline, a neurotransmitter, aids in improving your sleep, strengthening your memory, and boosting your mood. Another benefit is that choline contains folate. That ingredient is a potential treatment for depression for those looking for a more natural therapy versus a medication. 

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