Tags: sleep | snacks | insomnia | melatonin | magnesium | salmon | cream cheese

Insomnia Snacks: Try These Foods for a Better Night's Sleep

a palm of hand with pistachio nuts

By    |   Friday, 20 January 2023 11:41 AM EST

While you’ve probably heard that it is best not to nosh before bedtime, experts say certain snacks can help you sleep more soundly. Eating the right foods or particular combination of foods in the evening hours could mean the difference between a fitful or restful sleep, says Healthline.

Studies have shown that intake of fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. People with higher blood levels of magnesium, iron and zinc have been linked with longer sleep duration. High protein diets also may improve sleep quality. And for those who suffer from insomnia due to anxiety, foods that are rich in tryptophan can help. This amino acid converts to serotonin and melatonin, which both help the body relax.

On the other hand, some foods disrupt sleep. Caffeine and energy drinks are two of the most obvious but eating spicy or acidic foods just before bedtime can trigger painful indigestion or acid reflux. Sugary foods can also cause a restless night’s sleep.

When hunger strikes at night, prepare one of these pro-sleep snacks but don’t eat them too close to bedtime.

“Do your best to avoid eating close to bedtime,” says Rebecca Robbins, a sleep expert for Oura sleep tracking devices. Robbins recommends finishing a snack at least one hour before hitting the sack.

Tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice is one of the best-known sleep aids, especially the juice made from Montmorency cherries. Research has found that it increases melatonin levels in the body and enhances sleep, so there may be some validity to the latest sleep hack.  According to WebMD, cherry juice is high in calories so eating cherries instead of drinking their juice may be a healthier way of boosting melatonin levels. Dr. Shelby Harris, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine, says that melatonin is a natural hormone in the body that helps control sleep.

“The melatonin in tart cherry juice may help you get better sleep if you have the occasional bad night here and there, but it’s most likely not going to be the cure for chronic insomnia that a lot of people make it out to be,” she tells BuzzFeed.

Harris says that if you want to try drinking tart cherry juice to help you sleep, drink an eight-ounce glass before bed, or mix the concentrate with eight ounces of water. More is not better, she said. The best way to ensure a good night’s sleep is consistency.

Smoked salmon cream cheese rollups. Salmon contains the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids of most fish in the sea. Since these healthy fats may improve sleep, let them become a staple pre-bedtime snack. Spread a layer of cream cheese on a soft tortilla and top with slices of smoked salmon. Then roll it and cut into bite-sized pieces, says Healthline.

Whole grain toast with peanut butter. Top a slice of whole grain toast with one tablespoon of peanut butter for a magnesium-rich snack that can summon the sandman.

A bowl of oatmeal. Nutritionists recommend eating a bowl of oatmeal with berries not only for breakfast but also as a pre-bedtime snack. “Oats are a good source of tryptophan, which helps your body to produce melatonin to support a natural sleep cycle” says Kelsey Lorenz, a registered dietitian. Adding berries helps sweeten the oats and adds fiber, she says.

Chamomile tea with almond milk. “Drinking chamomile tea before bed is a great way to reduce anxiety symptoms and support a good night’s sleep,” says Lorenz. “Chamomile is particularly rich in the antioxidant apigenin, which works like an antidepressant and antianxiety agent.”

A handful of pistachio nuts. They contain more melatonin than any other nut, according to a 2017 study. Try snacking on just a handful of these tasty nuts an hour or so before going to bed.

Bananas. Try eating a banana for a snack before bed. “Bananas are a great source of melatonin and other nutrients, such as vitamin B6 and magnesium, that may help with sleep problems,” says registered dietitian Paula Doebrich, founder of Happea Nutrition.

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While you've probably heard that it is best not to nosh before bedtime, experts say certain snacks can help you sleep more soundly. Eating the right foods or particular combination of foods in the evening hours could mean the difference between a fitful or restful sleep,...
sleep, snacks, insomnia, melatonin, magnesium, salmon, cream cheese, cherries, tart, oatmeal, chamomile, tea, pistachios
Friday, 20 January 2023 11:41 AM
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