As moms, we know how much sleep is important for our well-being. You definitely know all the stress and chores of today and tomorrow might result in your restless nights. But what you don’t know is that your diet plays an important role in your overall health. There are foods that help you with your sleep.
Your body burns fat and regenerates your cells that slows down the effects of aging. Now you know how important your sleep is. Lack of sleep elevates our cortisol levels and stress hormones, causing our body to store rather than burn fat. Not only can lack of sleep cause drowsiness and tiredness, but it increases your risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and even diabetes. Basically, a lack of sleep can have some serious problems for you.
So, you must take extra measures to do anything that promotes good sleep. And what if you find yourself hungry at night and you want to stuff yourself with some snacks hidden from kids?
I know being a mom is working your butt off all day and then finally getting some me-time at night. I’m here to tell you healthy bedtime snacks really can help you sleep better.
That’s right!! Eating at night isn’t as bad as you thought. Just follow some nutrition tips and eat foods that will help you sleep better and soundly. If you’re looking for healthy bedtime snacks to help you sleep, find something that contains one of the three chemicals that effects your sleep:
- Tryptophan: an amino acid that triggers serotonin.
- Serotonin: a hormone that relaxes the body and triggers melatonin production.
- Melatonin: a hormone that induces sleep and wake patterns.
Here are some foods that help you sleep and promote relaxation:
If your sleep quality is poor because of restless legs or cramps like me, you may be lacking in potassium. Bananas are a great source of potassium. Apart from potassium, bananas are rich in magnesium, zinc, and melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycle). All these chemicals help to relax muscles, which results in better night’s sleep.
For better sleep, make a smoothie of milk, half a banana, berries and a sprinkle of flax or chia seeds and blend them all in a blender. I have personally tried this recipe and it tastes amazing with all the food for good sleep.
Either way, if you don’t want to drink a smoothie, you can slice it on your oatmeal or toast with some nut butter. If you work out, you definitely should be making sure you get enough of this element.
Almonds are another great source of magnesium, which has the ability to relax your muscles, reduce stress and anxiety, and calm your central nervous system. According to registered dietitian Chelsea Elkin, magnesium-rich almonds are a great snack to help with sleep.
“One ounce of almonds contains 80 milligrams of magnesium or about 20 percent of your daily value, and research shows that magnesium helps to support sleep and muscle relaxation,” says Elkin.
If you want to try something different, drop some almonds in a bowl of oatmeal because nuts contain melatonin too. You can also add almonds to your smoothies as well and see how this food promotes good sleep.
Several experts have suggested that tart cherries and specifically tart cherry juice has great results in improved sleep. Tart cherry contains polyphenols that help increase the availability of tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, which can help promote sleep.
They are also a natural source of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles.
If you suffer from any sort of pain, drinking tart cherry juice daily may help manage the pain and help you get a better night’s sleep. One study showed that participants who drank tart cherry juice before bed slept an hour longer on average than those who received a placebo.
Another important food that helps with sleep is grapefruit. Eating grapefruit before bed to improve sleep may be an old wives’ tale, but it’s also proved by science. Grapefruit is rich in an antioxidant called lycopene as demonstrated in this recent study, which promotes sleep. Lycopene also has anti-inflammatory effects that work on restoring your body while you rest, reducing stress, and improving blood circulation.
They are rich in vitamin C which also helps promote sleep. The daily amount of vitamin C recommended for adults is around 65 to 90 milligrams per day. You can have grapefruits chopped and added on your salad bowl at dinner whatever suits you.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional source of food which are high in fiber, low in saturated fat and a good source of vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as potassium and manganese. They also contain the minerals magnesium and zinc, two micronutrients that work synergistically in creating melatonin.
So, it’s not at all surprising that these sweet potatoes are one of the foods to help with sleep. There are food carbs in it, and that’s why I have seen plenty of keto-diet recipes adding them in their meal plans. You can check various recipes of sweet potatoes on Google and YouTube. Most of them can easily be made and enjoyed at dinner.
If you are craving for something sweet as a bedtime snack then kiwi is your friend. I like adding kiwi to my green smoothies, whenever I’m in a mood of those. These tiny little friends are packed with vitamin C and serotonin, which makes them in a list of foods that help aid good sleep.
One study showed that participants who ate a kiwi an hour before bed slept an extra hour compared to participants who didn’t have a kiwi. It also showed that after four weeks of eating kiwi, nighttime waking and the length of time it took to fall asleep were significantly decreased, while they sleep and its efficiency was significantly increased.
Green leafy vegetables
Just when you thought the list of reasons why you should “eat your greens” couldn’t get any longer, another benefit to munching on these colorful leaves sprouts up. That’s they promote good sleep.
You know, calcium can also assist your sleep by helping the brain produce melatonin. While you can get calcium from dairy products you can also look to green leafy vegetables for your natural calcium.
Garden favorites like kale, collard greens, spinach, and lettuce grow organically and are a rich source of calcium. Spinach an everyday superfood is rich in magnesium the relaxing mineral. Lettuce also contains lactucarium, a naturally sedating substance to further enhance your sleep.
Studies have shown that these foods make falling asleep easier and result in a night of more restorative sleep. Scientists believe this might be due to calcium. So try adding these green vegetables in your diet and see how these foods can miraculously improve your night’s sleep.
Well, who doesn’t love turkey, but what if you get a bonus for loving it? That’s right! Turkey is one of those foods that help you with good sleep. It is a famous food for holidays, which now you can make to sleep soundly.
This is a tryptophan-rich food, the precursor hormone involved in producing melatonin. Research shows that tryptophan increases sleepiness and promotes a restful night’s sleep. As a bonus, higher levels of tryptophan can increase serotonin levels, leading to a better mood, so you can wake up refreshed and happy.
Well, who doesn’t love chocolates? One more bonus for you: dark chocolate (yes, chocolate) can counteract the negative effects of sleep deprivation. From now on stock your favorite dark chocolate brands and start keeping them in your bedside table.
On the other hand, chocolate is on the list of tryptophan foods, which include famous natural sleep aids like turkey and warm milk. Tryptophan is a naturally occurring chemical that helps your body produce serotonin, which helps to boost your mood and helps to regulate sleep.
One study involved sleep-deprived participants who consumed a chocolate drink showed that the chocolate drink improved artery function and memory performance both commonly affected during sleep deprivation. I’m happy this is one of the foods that help promote sleep. At least now I can have it every day!
Many people turn to warm milk to help get ready for bed and to help with sleep deprivation. Well, the good for tea lovers, you can turn to “sleepy teas” in the evening for a good reason as well.
“A warm beverage, such as a non-caffeinated herbal tea like chamomile or a warm cup of milk, can help relax and soothe your mind and body in the evenings, preparing you for sleep,” says registered dietitian Maxine C. Yeung.
So, any herbal tea will contain ingredients such as chamomile, lavender, and peppermint will help promote sound sleep. I personally love white tea, it has other more benefits than just improvement in sleep.
Fish is great for you for a number of reasons, but if you have sleep problems, it can be a top pick for you. Fish has a lot of benefits. From its potent anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to its rich mineral and B vitamin content, fish truly is a superfood.
Fish like tuna and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you fall asleep when it’s dark outside. Fish also contains tryptophan, the same chemical that’s naturally in turkey that makes you fall asleep.
As a bonus, not only do you catch more sleep, but you might also get a brain boost as this is one of the brain-boosting foods to eat. There is One study that found out the children consuming fish sleep better than those who don’t and experience fewer sleep disturbances. They were also found to have IQs four points higher than those who didn’t.
Eating foods rich in vitamins before bed, especially vitamin c, actually helps to repair and regenerate your skin at a much faster pace. These foods are amazing to aid in sleep because of the vitamin C present in them.
One of these superfoods is strawberries. Strawberries are rich in vitamin B6, which also benefits the body by converting tryptophan into serotonin, which then regulated melatonin. I love to pair strawberries with low-fat Greek yogurt. Or when I make my smoothies, I add strawberries and enjoy them.
These are my favorite go-to snack but I never knew they aid in good sleep as well. After some research I found, sunflower seeds might be the perfect bird food, but they’re also a good bedtime snack.
They contain tryptophan, in addition to that, the seeds also offer filling fiber and healthy fats, which will help to curb your hunger longer. By adding a spoonful of sunflower seed butter to an evening smoothie you can have a good night’s sleep. If you don’t like this way try to sprinkle the nuts onto low-fat Greek yogurt and enjoy your late-night snack.
Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, another natural sleep aid that’s also good for the lining of your blood vessels. Red tomatoes also offer the super hormone melatonin (sleep hormone). You can have a little bedtime snack by eating fresh cherry or grape tomatoes drizzled with some olive oil and black pepper (a super bonus added melatonin recipe).
You can add them to your omelets or sandwiches. Don’t just limit these fruits to breakfast; they make fabulous toppings for those home-grown greens in your salads too.
Another superfood, walnuts are packed with sleep-strengthening nutrients. Walnuts are another tryptophan-rich snack that can help your body improve the sleep-wake cycle. In addition, they also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve sleep quality.
Walnuts have super healthful types of unsaturated fats such as omega-3s and are rich in melatonin. Add them on top of your favorite salads or smoothies and enjoy them.
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are another source of vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin. highlighting the legume’s deep sleep-inducing qualities. Munching on chickpeas throughout the day will help your body and your nervous system relax come bedtime, too.
You can add them whole to salads, crush them in falafel or puree them for hummus. They’re a good source of healthy protein and keep you healthy and active.
Another food that helps to improve sleep are chia seeds. Chia seeds are full of fiber. Studies have shown that the absence of enough fiber in your diet can result in sleep arousals and is associated with less restorative sleep patterns. This makes chia seeds your best friend.
In addition, chia seeds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help you relax as well as increase the amount of time you stay asleep during the night and help you have improved sleep. This is another great addition to your smoothies or salads.
Along with calcium, magnesium is necessary to produce that much-needed melatonin. Whole grains are high in magnesium content, which is extremely important for a good night’s sleep.
Eating whole-grain cereals can easily induce some sleep and help your muscles relax. You can eat whole grains in the form of whole-grain bread. In addition to whole grain bread, try oatmeal at breakfast or quinoa at dinner, for a tasty alternative.
Greek yogurt is another one on the hit list of foods that help promote sleep. Greek yogurt contains tryptophan, which helps the body produce serotonin, which aids in mood regulation and promotes sleepiness and relaxation.
There are so many ways to consume Greek yogurt. You can add them to your salads or smoothies. You can also make a bowl of Greek yogurt, with banana, strawberries, and granola; a total brain-boosting snack.
Last but not least, how can we ever skip oatmeal and its tremendous benefits? Oats are a natural source of melatonin (sleep hormone to control the body’s sleep cycle). Oats also contain a small amount of sleep-inducing vitamin B3 as well as magnesium, a mineral which aid in muscle and nerve relaxation.
Skip the sugar-laden instant oatmeal packets, which may trigger a rapid rise in blood glucose. Instead, use steel-cut oats. If you need a snack before bed then have a small bowl of oatmeal with your favorite fruits and nuts combined.
Studies have shown similar to rice, oatmeal is high in carbs and has been reported to induce drowsiness when consumed before bed. So add this to the list of healthy foods that help you sleep.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of foods packed with nutrients to help improve your sleep while also filling any mineral or vitamin gaps that might be contributing to insomnia. Try them out and experiment with the ones you enjoy the most before bedtime.
While these foods can help you sleep better, try to avoid eating large meals right before bed. Watch your intake of alcohol, and know that spicy foods can also make sleep difficult.
So, did you like the list of these foods? Are there any other types of foods you know are healthy and helps in promoting sleep? Let me know in the comments.