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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.