We all get hungry before bed sometimes, and that’s ok. It’s important to listen to your body at all times, even before going to bed. As sleep specialist Michael Breus, Ph.D. says, “Don’t go to bed full, but also don’t go to bed hungry.”
But not every snack is good. There are some that prevent you from getting deep sleep (like sweets and junk foods), and others that have certain nutrients that can trigger a much better sleep. This is a list of the good variety:
Tart cherries contain loads of melatonin, the hormone that’s vital for good sleep. One study even found that people who consumed tart cherry juice experienced higher melatonin levels, which then gave them improved sleep duration and quality. Another study discovered that tart cherry juice was possibly even more effective at fighting insomnia than valerian or melatonin.
Avocado with rice cake
According to some experts, the perfect before-bed snack should have carbs, with around 70% carbs and around 30% either protein or fat. Whole foods with complex carbs lead to more serotonin, which then converts into the sleep chemical called melatonin. With the protein and fat keeping you satiated so you don’t awake in the night due to spiked blood sugar.
Registered dietitian Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN, says she likes to eat roasted chickpeas before bed. Chickpeas fall within the complex carbs group, which stimulates serotonin. They also contain high amounts of magnesium, which supports deep sleep by helping GABA production—a neurotransmitter that aids relaxation. Chickpeas are also filled with tryptophan, an amino acid that’s needed for production of serotonin.
Having an omelet for breakfast-at-night is a great idea because eggs, among many other good nutrients, have large amounts of melatonin and large amounts of L-ornithine, an amino acid that is proven to improve the quality of sleep. And feel free to toss in some veggies—because according to experts, broccoli and asparagus are also filled with melatonin.
Sleep easy, sleep deep
If you’re dealing with hunger before bed, don’t force yourself to ignore it! As experts say, it’s best to obey your body (this is assuming you’re not fasting) so a blood sugar spike won’t wake you. A fast, no-fuss bedtime snack is vital, and they can even enhance your sleep quality if chosen smartly.