What To Eat Before Bed – Have you ever wondered why some nights you fall asleep right away while you toss and turn for hours on others? It may be that the food you are eating is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.
That’s right. There’s more than weight gain to consider if you’re a late night eater. Spikes in blood sugar or frequent bouts of acid reflux can result from a sweet tooth or eating a meal too close to bedtime.
What To Eat Before Bed – Understanding The Relationship Between Food And Sleep
If you have been experiencing sleep deprivation, it may be time to consider the fact that what you’re putting in your stomach may be preventing you from getting the restful sleep you need. Let’s take a look at what foods can hurt or help your sleep quality.
What To Avoid When Eating Before Bed
- Avoid high calorie-packed treats that are filled with sugar such as ice cream and candy.
- Avoid eating a lot of carbohydrates and complex carbs. Bread and starchy vegetables convert into sugars which can produce a spike in blood sugar. The digestive system then has to work hard to bring sugar levels under control — which can impair sleep.
- Avoid fatty foods that make your digestive system work hard through the night which can impair your sleep cycle.
What To Drink Before Bed
Herbal tea. Herbal teas have been used to help with sleep for centuries.
Here are the top six:
- Lemon Balm
- Magnolia Bark 
Remember, herbal teas differ from other teas (and coffee) for their lack of caffeine. Many herbs work by increasing or modifying specific neurotransmitters that help induce sleepiness. To get a good night’s sleep, avoid caffeine intake after late afternoon. Look out for drinks with hidden caffeine like regular tea and cola. Caffeine may also be present in some medications .
Remember when your mom used to make you a glass of warm milk before bed? It turns out she knew what she was doing! Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid which helps the brain produce serotonin, a precursor to sleep.
Montmorency tart cherries have been known to help with insomnia. Drink a bit of this cherry juice during dinner, or mix some of the cherry juice with your favorite herbal tea before bedtime .
You can lose weight while getting a good night’s sleep by drinking a protein shake. A protein shake can help with your muscle building which is perfect for those who have been working out. Protein is broken down into fatty acids.
What to Eat Before Bed
If you want to sleep better at night, minus the weight gain, you’re probably wondering what the perfect bedtime snack is. Although late-night eating is not recommended when you are on a weight loss diet, there are times when it cannot be avoided. The best way to prevent weight gain is to know which foods to eat right before bedtime. Here are a few that can help you fall asleep better at night.
If you are looking for a light snack before you go to bed, almonds or almond butter is a good choice. Aside from having healthy fats, almonds are packed with magnesium as well as tryptophan which makes them a good choice for a night time snack.
For those who are thinking of snacking before bed, you might want to try eating oats. This breakfast food contains plenty of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that can promote melatonin and insulin production to help stabilize your blood sugar levels naturally. An increase in insulin can make you feel fuller and help you sleep better. However, you should watch the amount of carbs you eat directly before bedtime .
A bit of cheese late at night can help you feel full and sleep easy. Many types of cheese contain tryptophan; an amino acid that increases serotonin and subsequent melatonin production. You might be surprised that cheddar cheese includes a good dose of tryptophan (more than turkey) which can make you sleep easily. Having a bit of cheese before bed can help your stomach feel fuller making it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
If your dinner leaves you feeling a bit peckish, you’re probably thinking of what you can have as a bedtime snack. How about some nut butter on whole grain bread? Nut butters, such as peanut butter, are packed with tryptophan. If you eat the right type of bread, you may also get a healthy dose of B vitamins which can make it easier for your body to absorb the amino acids present in peanut butter. If this snack seems “too heavy,” opt for a tablespoon of your favorite peanut butter instead.
Eating tart cherries can be effective in raising your melatonin levels which can help put you sleep more comfortably. Montmorency tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin. In studies, these cherries helped increase the availability of tryptophan in your body. You can toss some cherries in your salad or eat a few before bedtime.
The natural sugar found in honey assists in transporting the amino acid, tryptophan to the brain while keeping your insulin levels within a normal range. This is a great choice if you are looking for a good source of carbohydrates. Always choose low glycemic index carbohydrates if you are planning on having a snack before going to bed .
Spud lovers should go for half of a sweet potato before bed because the carbs and potassium present in them are known to promote better sleep. What’s more, sweet potatoes are more flavorful than other types of vegetables.
Fruits & Seeds
If you want to have a good night in bed, eating bananas may be a good choice for you. This fruit is not only rich in potassium, but it also contains magnesium which is known for helping your muscles relax. They’re also low in calories which make them a good option if you are thinking of eating before bed. You can also munch on pumpkin seeds to get a dose of magnesium .
Preparing fish for dinner can help you sleep better at night. Fish like salmon, halibut, and tuna contain plenty of vitamin B6. This vitamin is needed for melatonin production, the hormone that induces sleep.
Eating yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, or having a glass of warm milk before bedtime promotes relaxation and eliminates stress from your body. The calcium that is present in these dairy products help your body relax, plus it leaves you full, reducing the chances that you wake up in the night feeling hungry for a snack. Always go for the low-fat dairy option to help prevent weight gain .
Turkey contains tryptophan which is known to induce serotonin which can bring on drowsiness. Roll up 2 slices of turkey deli meat with a small piece of cheese for the bedtime snack .
A Word About Diabetes
When it comes to late night snacking, diabetics, in particular, must be careful. The “Dawn Phenomenon,” also known as the Somogyi Effect results in higher blood sugar in the morning for this part of the population. As a result of natural body changes that a diabetic body undergoes during the night, some people develop rebound hyperglycemia resulting in higher blood sugar levels in the early AM. Diabetics should check with their MD before adjusting their carbs and calories if they thinking about eating before bedtime.
What To Eat Before Bed Conclusion
The key to choosing what to eat before bed so that it will not disrupt your sleep involves knowing what to avoid and what will encourage a good sleep. Avoid drinks like caffeine and alcohol. Fried foods that are higher in calories per gram and can disrupt your sleep due to their quick metabolizing nature. It’s better to eat a lighter meal such as a piece of cheese or a tablespoon of peanut butter. You can also try drinking a glass of tart cherry juice before going to bed. The goal of late-night eating is to eat enough calories for your stomach to feel full but not so much so that your blood sugar increases monumentally.
What To Eat Before Bed Resources:
 Healthline; The 6 Best Bedtime Teas That Help You Sleep, Kaitlyn Berkheiser, RD, LDN, February 18, 2018.
 WebMD; Alcohol and a Good Night’s Sleep Don’t Mix, Denise Mann, January 22, 2013.
 Montmorency; Study: Tart Cherry Juice Increases Sleep Time in Adults with Insomnia, April 28, 2014.
 Eat This, Not That; 12 Best Bedtime Foods for Weight Loss, Christina Stiehl, March 10, 2017.
 Mind Body Green; A Sleep Expert’s Top Tips For Eating At Night, Deborah E. Sewitch.
 SF Gate; Things to Eat Before Bed, M.T. Wroblewski, December 06, 2018.
 WebMD; Foods That Help or Harm Your Sleep, What To Eat Before Bed.