If you have trouble falling asleep at night and want to try something natural, why not try some snacks that help you sleep? According WebMD, about 70% of Americans report having sleep problems with over half of the individuals having insomnia, so you’re certainly not alone. There are a range of foods that contain the sleep-enhancing amino acid tryptophan that can help make falling and staying asleep at night a little bit easier. Give some of these snacks that help you sleep a try for side-effect free sleep tonight.
Nuts contain a wealth of nutritional benefits so they're a healthy snack to have whether you’re eating them as one of the snacks that help you sleep or not. Walnuts are high in tryptophan, and University of Texas researchers found that walnuts actually have their own source of melatonin, which can help you fall asleep faster. If you’re not familiar with melatonin, it’s a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles that’s naturally produced in your body.
This healthy snack that helps you fall asleep should come as no surprise. Bananas have long been known for their high content of tryptophan, so many families encourage eating a banana with milk before bed to help you relax and get in the mood for bed. Bananas aren’t just good for helping you sleep. Thanks to their rich content of tryptophan, which also converts to the happy neurotransmitter serotonin, they can give your mood a boost!
3. Chamomile Tea with Honey
Tea is far from a snack, but if you’re not in the mood to eat anything at night, chamomile tea is a fab alternative to help you hit the sack. According to Dr. Oz, chamomile can work as a mild tranquilizer and sleep enhancer, so if your mind is keeping you up, sipping some of this tea can be really helpful for you. Adding honey to your tea can reduce the production of orexin in your brain, which is a neurotransmitter that’s related to wakefulness.
4. Plain Popcorn
I know, plain popcorn is pretty boring, but noshing on popcorn can help you fall asleep and it’s a great choice for a late night snack. The carbs in popcorn can help stimulate the production of tryptophan and it’s high in antioxidants and fiber. Sprinkle some spices or parmesan cheese on your popcorn to jazz it up and enjoy your healthy, crunchy snack.
5. Dairy Products
Yogurt, milk and cheese all contain tryptophan and they also have the added benefit of calcium, which is known to help with stress reduction and stabilizing nerve fibers. If you choose to drink milk, make it skim since the protein in full fat milk can boost alertness and slow digestion, says Self.com. You could also go for some low-sugar cereal with skim milk to help you drift off to sleep.
If you love hummus like I do, you’ll find any excuse to eat it. Turns out hummus, or garbanzo beans, are a good source of tryptophan, and eating hummus with some veggies or whole grain crackers can help you catch some much needed Zs and satisfy any late night cravings. Garbanzo beans are also high in fiber, protein, zinc and magnesium.
Another great snack that helps you fall asleep and is also another breakfast food is oatmeal. Oats contain melatonin, complex carbs and vitamin B6, all of which helps stimulate melatonin and serotonin in your brain. In an article on foods for deep sleep, Pina LoGiudice ND, LAc and Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc state that oats are derived from an herb called Avena Sativa, which is a calming plant known for soothing the nervous system. Pair your oats with bananas and almond butter for a tasty, magnesium-packed snack.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, I hope you give some of these foods a try. Sometimes all it takes is reevaluating your nightly routine and making it more about relaxation than stimulation. Have you ever tried any of these snacks that help you sleep before?