There are a number of reasons why some of us have trouble sleeping. Stress, hormone levels, and anxiety all play a role in how our bodies respond to fatigue. A glass of warm milk doesn’t always do the trick when we’re trying to remedy our restlessness. I’ve always heard that it’s a bad idea to eat before bed, but there has to be something we can nibble on, right? Luckily for food lovers, there’s a whole array of foods that contain different proteins, minerals, vitamins and amino acids that help us sleep. The key is to boost levels of serotonin and melatonin while adding proteins and acids that will help absorb them. Try out some of these meals about ninety minutes before going to bed, and we promise you’ll wake up feeling truly well rested.
1. Whole Grain Cereal with Almond Milk
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Who doesn’t love having breakfast for dinner? Have a bowl of whole grain cereal with low sugar and almond milk. There’s magnesium in almonds, which has muscle relaxing properties, and the cereal will help the production of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones important for sleep. Throw in some bananas for some extra magnesium and a bit of potassium, too.
2. Pineapple & Cherries
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Cut up some pineapple and mix it in a bowl with cherries. They both have natural melatonin which will definitely help you stay asleep instead of tossing and turning all night.
3. Cheese and Crackers
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There’s a reason warm milk is most people’s go-to sleepy snack. Milk and cheese contain tryptophan, which metabolizes to serotonin and melatonin. Pair your favorite cheese with some crackers, the carbs will help absorb the tryptophan.
4. Herbal Tea
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Tea isn’t just hydrating and soothing. Decaf green tea has amino acids to help you relax and reduce stress, but if you want something a little sweeter you can go with chamomile which has glycine, a mild sedative. Add some honey to increase your insulin level and help absorb tryptophan.
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Hummus contains vitamin B-6 which helps regulate your sleep in addition to tryptophan. Keep some in your cupboard and enjoy with pita chips or veggie sticks.
6. Trail Mix
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Make a trail mix with pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and pretzels to boost your levels of tryptophan, insulin and natural melatonin.
7. Air-Popped Popcorn
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Watching a movie before bed? Pop your own kernels with an air popper and then sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top. Carbs and dairy make for some serious zzz’s.
8. Fish and Shellfish
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Fish and shellfish are great sources of protein and other nutrients. Tuna and salmon contain vitamin B-6 and crustaceans have tryptophan as well.