The foods you choose to eat before bedtime can greatly influence the sleep you will experience. You don’t want to go to bed hungry, but you also don’t want to pile on the calories an hour before you go to sleep. Minimizing your caloric intake before bed can help regulate your sleep cycle and keep you from rising during the middle of the night to get a midnight snack.
According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), roughly 50-70 million US adults have sleeping problems. These problems range from snoring to insomnia, or sleep apnea to sleep deprivation. With all these sleep problems, what can be done to help people sleep better through the night? While certain things (i.e. yoga, meditation, a hot shower, or reading) can help people relax before bed, eating specific foods before bed may help people get a better night’s sleep.
Well known for their potassium and fiber content, bananas also contain magnesium and vitamin B6, both of which help to induce calm and happy feelings. Bananas are also rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that aids with serotonin production. This ultimately helps you fall asleep. Eat about half of a large banana an hour or so before bed to help relax the body and mind.
This herb has been commonly used as a mild sedative to help relieve anxiety and stress. It works to increase gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that helps regulate nerve cells and calm anxiety, production in the brain. It is best to brew valerian herb into a tea and drink an hour or so before bed. It may take a week or so for you to experience the effects.
Recent studies have shown that consuming fresh cherry juice may help to reduce insomnia symptoms. The reason for this is because cherries are one of the richest plant-based sources of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. You can drink a cup of fresh cherry juice about two hours before bed to allow your body time to absorb the melatonin.
Whole grains like buckwheat, rye, barley, brown rice or steel cut oats are comprised of complex carbohydrates that help the body release insulin. In turn, sleep-inducing amino acids like tryptophan can enter the brain and help with serotonin and melatonin production, helping the brain and nervous system wind down for bed. You might consider having whole grains for dinner to help promote healthier sleep.
People with magnesium deficiencies have been known to develop sleeping problems. A lot of seeds are rich in magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, and B-vitamins that promote relaxation. Sesame, chia, and pumpkin seeds are all rich in tryptophan! You may want to eat a small amount of chia pudding topped with some banana slices and tahini to get healthy doses of magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan.