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Bed Time Snacks to Help You Sleep Better

Dr. Nosheen Abbas

3 min read

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Just like a cup of coffee or tea keeps you up at night, there are some foods that induce sleep. These foods have naturally constituents that induce sleep. A light snack composed of sleep inducing foods can help bring on sleep, however, be sure not to eat too much of them as this may lead to digestive discomfort which would keep you up longer. Moreover, avoid lying down immediately after a meal as will delay the emptying of the stomach and disturb sleep. Here are some bed time foods that help you sleep better:

Lettuce:

Aim to eat a salad with dinner as lettuce contains lactucarium, which works as a sedative and has the same effect on the brain as opium.

Walnuts:

Walnuts contain tryptophan, an amino acid that induces sleepiness. Basically, tryptophan helps your body make serotonin and melatonin, the hormone that impacts your sleep cycle. Walnuts also have their own source of melatonin.

Fish:

Fish like halibut, salmon, and tuna contain vitamin B6, which your body uses to make serotonin and melatonin.

Almonds:

Almonds are a type of tree nut with many health benefits.

They are an excellent source of many nutrients, as one ounce contains 14% of your daily needs for phosphorus, 32% for manganese and 17% for riboflavin.

Also, eating almonds regularly has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is attributed to their content of healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants.

It has been claimed that almonds may also help boost sleep quality.

This is because almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.

Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium, providing 19% of your daily needs in only 1 ounce. Consuming adequate amounts of magnesium may help improve sleep quality, especially for those who have insomnia.

Magnesium’s role in promoting sleep is thought to be due to its ability to reduce inflammation. Additionally, it may help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep.

Yet despite this, research on almonds and sleep is sparse.

One study examined the effects of feeding rats 400 mg of almond extract. It found that the rats slept longer and more deeply than they did without consuming almond extract.

The potential sleep-promoting effects of almonds are promising, but more extensive human studies are needed.

If you want to eat almonds before bed to determine if they impact your sleep quality, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, or about a handful, should be adequate.

Cheese:

Dairy products can also make you sleepy. Calcium, found in milk, yogurt, and cheese, helps your brain utilize the tryptophan found in dairy to synthesize melatonin.

Milk and Honey:

As mentioned before, milk contains the sleep-inducing tryptophan. It increases the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a natural sedative. That’s why consuming milk and honey is an ancient remedy that has been used to promote sleepiness. Honey is a simple sugar and carbs makes it easier for tryptophan to enter the brain. You can also combine them with bananas and make a banana shake, as banana contains vitamin B6, which helps your brain convert tryptophan to serotonin.

Cherries:

A cup of cherries has nearly 24 grams of carbohydrates. Cherries are also a natural source of melatonin and can help regulate your sleep cycle. Moreover, a cup of cherries only has 100 calories, making them an ideal bed time snack.

Cereal:

A bowl of cereal can also help you fall asleep faster as cereals contain carbohydrates and calcium.

Rice:

Since rice has a high glycemic index (GI), it can help you fall asleep faster. Specifically, jasmine rice has been shown to hasten sleep. Researchers believe that high GI meals promote sleepiness because a large amount of insulin is released after their consumption. Insulin drives Tryptophan into the brain and induces sleep.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that may offer a variety of health benefits.

It is well known for its content of flavones, a class of antioxidants that reduce inflammation that often leads to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

There is also some evidence that drinking chamomile tea may boost your immune system, reduce anxiety and depression and improve skin health. In addition, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality.

Specifically, chamomile tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.

One study in 34 adults found those who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster and experienced less nighttime wakening, compared to those who did not consume the extract.

Another study found that women who drank chamomile tea for two weeks reported improved sleep quality, compared to non-tea drinkers.

If you feel that you are suffering from insomnia, consult a doctor. You can find and book an appointment with top Nutritionist in Karachi, Multan and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Nosheen Abbas - Author Dr. Nosheen Abbas is a Dietitian and Nutritionist. Dr. Nosheen Abbas is among the Best Dietitians in Islamabad. She has a MBBS, MSPH and SNHS Dip. (Holistic Nutrition) UK degree along with an experience of 13 years. She is also a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and its pmdc number is 45457-P.
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