In fact, the connection between food and sleep is essential, and what you eat before bed can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what you should eat foods before bed, there are some foods and practices that may promote better sleep.
Here are some tips to improve your sleep by choosing excellent and healthy foods before bedtime.
The Best Healthy Foods Before Bed
Kiwi is a good source of folate (vitamin B9), which has been associated with sleep disturbances and mood disorders, so ensuring an adequate intake of folate may indirectly support better sleep.
Nuts, particularly almonds, cashews, and walnuts, are good sources of magnesium. Magnesium is involved in various physiological processes and calms the nervous system, which can contribute to better sleep.
Popcorn is one of the healthiest methods, as it doesn’t require the addition of oil or butter. Popcorn is a whole grain, which can provide a source of complex carbohydrates. This keeps the snack low in calories and avoids potentially harmful additives found in some microwave popcorn products.
Rice is a complex carbohydrate with a relatively low glycemic index (GI), meaning it is digested more slowly and leads to a gradual increase in blood sugar levels.
A study found that those who regularly ate rice reported better sleep than those who consumed more bread or noodles, suggesting that the type of carbohydrates consumed may play a role in sleep quality.
Tart cherry juice
Tart cherries are known for their high antioxidant content, particularly anthocyanins and quercetin. These antioxidants can help protect your cells from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Some studies suggest that tart cherry juice may have sleep-promoting properties.
Chamomile tea is well-known for its sleep-promoting effects. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that can bind to certain receptors in the brain and promote relaxation. Drinking chamomile tea before bedtime may help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms.
Sipping on a warm beverage like herbal tea with milk can be a soothing and comforting choice for those moments when you’re feeling thirsty but still want a little something before bedtime. This combination not only helps quench your thirst but can also have a calming effect and provide a mild sense of satiety.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in regulating fluid balance and muscle contractions.
Consuming foods rich in tryptophan, like banana peels, can potentially aid in improving sleep quality.
Sleep-enhancing foods and drinks
Some sleep-enhancing foods and drinks that you might consider consuming before bedtime include:
- Herbal teas like chamomile or valerian
- Warm milk (dairy or plant-based) with a small amount of honey
- Foods rich in tryptophan, such as turkey, bananas, and nuts
- Whole grains and complex carbohydrates
- Foods high in magnesium, like leafy greens, nuts, and seeds
Avoid Heavy and Spicy Foods
Foods that are heavy or spicy can lead to indigestion and discomfort, making it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid large meals, high-fat dishes, and spicy foods in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Foods before bed, especially when they consist of healthy food choices, are not necessarily a problem for most people. However, eating food at night a regular habit with unhealthy or inappropriate food choices can indeed lead to a variety of issues, including weight gain, disrupted sleep, and reflux symptoms.
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