We’ve been told over and over not to eat too close to our bedtime. In fact, we’ve probably all learned this the hard way after eating a large meal too late in the evening. Waking up the next morning with an unhappy tummy or raging heartburn just is not the best way to start your day.
But did you know that being too hungry before bed isn’t doing you any favors either? If our bodies think we’re running out of fuel, they release cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. And that can lead to antsiness, racing thoughts, and even heart palpitations.
Sounds soothing, huh?
So in order to strike a balance between too hungry and too full before we drift off to sleep (or try to, anyway), today we’re looking at five foods that can actually help to promote a more restful night.
Bananas top our list because of their high amounts of both magnesium and potassium. One medium banana also includes 33% of your vitamin B6 requirement, and it’s a good source of vitamin C and fiber. They’re also high in antioxidants.
All of this helps the fruit lower stress and anxiety, decrease muscle cramps, and promote serotonin and melatonin, which regulate our sleep-wake cycles.
A half a cup of cup of chick peas includes around 115 milligrams of magnesium. They’re also a complex carb, which help our bodies produce serotonin.
Either add some chick peas to your in a curry, some falafel, or salad, or make a snack out of some hummus or roast them up with some spices until they’re all crispy.
Nuts and Seeds
Several nuts and seeds have high levels of magnesium, which helps to promote a more restful sleep. Grabbing just 6 Brazil nuts can give you more than a quarter of your recommended daily allowance.
You’ll find similarly high levels of magnesium in almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews.
This one might sound a little odd. But hey, kiwis are odd.
This fruit contains a mess of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C and E, potassium, and folate. And some studies have found that eating it can help to improve sleep. One in particular found that people who ate two kiwis an hour before bed fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer than those who hadn’t.
This is possibly due to the kiwis’ antioxidant properties or high concentration of serotonin.
Tart Cherry Juice
The word tart is important here. Tart cherries, sometimes called sour cherries, are very different from sweet cherries. For that reason, they’re often easier to find in juice form.
One study concluded that people who drank a one-cup serving of the juice per day were found to sleep longer and more efficiently. Tart cherries have been found to have an above-average concentration of melatonin, a hormone that helps to promote healthy sleep. Their antioxidant content might also be a factor.
Yes, you read that right. A little dark chocolate before bed is A-OK! Just make sure it’s a little. Dark chocolate does contain caffeine, after all.
Once again, this snack packs a serious magnesium punch, with just one ounce covering about 15% of your recommended daily allowance. But not that you needed a reason, right?
So no, a snack before bed isn’t going to ruin your quality of sleep. In fact, the right snack in the right amount just might improve things. And don’t forget to grab a mug of chamomile or passionflower tea to help you drift off into dreamland.