We’ve all heard that late-night eating doesn’t always lead to a good night’s sleep, with many nutrition experts recommending we stop eating two to three hours before bedtime, especially if we’re trying to avoid the discomfort of acid reflux.
But aside from heartburn, many of their concerns about late-night snacks have to do with the kind of food many of us turn to at that time: highly processed, fatty, sugary grub that take longer to digest and are more likely to interfere with sleep.
If you do find yourself getting hungry or craving sweets shortly before bedtime, these healthy alternatives can fight those cravings while promoting sleepiness; two benefits for the price of one!
Bananas with peanut butter
The fruit contains a lot of potassium, which promotes muscle relaxation and deeper sleep, while the PB’s healthy fats provide satiety on top of their other benefits.
These low-cal shelled beans come bearing tryptophan and protein, making for a healthy response to late-evening hunger and cravings. Soy isoflavones also have been shown to promote sleep for menopausal women and other populations.
Slightly larger than pumpkin seeds, they carry a wallop of the well-known sleep inducer, melatonin. And if you purchase them shelled, they become that much harder to eat, helping you track what you’ve consumed and maybe tiring you out in the process!
This low-calorie (when it’s air-popped) whole grain has the complex kinds of carbs that take longer to break down and provide a longer-term solution to your cravings than any ultra-processed sweets and snacks will
Full of healthful nutrients and fatty acids, these are also a great source of tryptophan, the famous turkey-borne essential amino acid found in many other foods, too. These seeds also contain zinc, which converts the tryptophan to serotonin.
Tart cherry juice
Anecdotal evidence from a pro hockey team led to research that found significant levels of melatonin in this drink made from Montmorency (sour) cherries. They also have prodigious levels of antioxidants, which help calm anxiety along with physical inflammation.