If you struggle to fall asleep and your stomach is growling as the clock chimes midnight, you might be willing to try anything to help you drop off. In the same way as caffeine might keep you awake, there is food that can bring on drowsiness. So instead of tossing and turning in bed – head over to the pantry and make yourself a late night buffet of sleep-promoting bedtime snacks. This list of 9 handy bites naturally contains substances that hopefully makes you so tired that you will be out like a light when you hit the sack.
Oatmeal has it’s given place on the breakfast table, but it has beneficial qualities as a meal before bedtime as well. Oats raise your blood sugar naturally and make you feel sleepy. Also, oats are loaded with dietary fibre (containing more than many other grains) and studies have shown that high-fiber foods lead to deeper, more restorative rest.
Plums and cherries
Cherries and plums are natural food sources of melatonin, the hormone that controls the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep. These drupes naturally help the body create melatonin and according to research studies, three weeks of repeated melatonin intake (2,5 milligram) lowered systolic blood pressure during the night and improved the quality of the sleep. Tip! If it isn’t the season for fresh stone fruits, go for the dried ones.
Almonds contain tryptophan which is a precursor to the hormone melatonin. Almonds also contain high levels of magnesium which contributes to muscle relaxation which calms the body and might help you fall asleep faster.
These daisy-like flowers have long been used, as a traditional folk remedy, to help people relax and fall asleep. Researchers believe that chamomile tea may function like a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs that can reduce anxiety and induce sleep.
Bananas are the perfect bedtime snack. The high levels of potassium in bananas can relax your muscles and reduce nighttime cramps. Banana also has high levels of magnesium. Add some vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fibre and you understand why this curvy fruit gives your body what it needs to relax and find a good night’s sleep naturally.
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate. It’s one of the highest sources of antioxidants in foods and has a high amount of flavonoids. Studies have shown that chocolate with (at least) 70% cocoa can have an impact on blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels and is antidepressant. Also, it contains nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Including magnesium (which you by now know has muscular relaxation benefits).
Pistachios are full of protein, vitamin B6, and magnesium, all of which contribute to better sleep. Vitamin B6 together with magnesium is important for the body to be able to convert the amino acid tryptophan to the sleep hormone melatonin.
Last but not least, the beautiful figs. Like many of the other snacks above, these sweets are also rich in potassium and magnesium. In addition, figs have plenty of protein and are rich in fibre that’ll keep you full.
Text by Antonia af Petersens
Images by Josephine Blix
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