Healthy Nighttime Snacks

Many people eat their evening meals early and start feeling hungry before bed. If you are into this habit as well, you may be wondering if you can find some great nighttime snacks that you can eat without having to worry about anything. It is important to feel full before you go to bed or you may wake up in the middle of the night with a desire to eat something.

Some Simple Yet Healthy Nighttime Snacks

Sometimes, you do not know but your kitchen is full of healthy late-night snacks. Here are some nighttime snacks that will satisfy your hunger and provide you with sleep-inducing nutrients, such as melatonin, tryptophan, carbs, and protein.

1.        Cheese and Sliced Kiwi with Graham Cracker

It is a perfect combination of protein and carbohydrates that will make it easy for you to sleep. Cottage cheese is loaded with protein, which is essential for the production of tryptophan that promotes better sleep. Crackers contain carbs, which make tryptophan available to the brain. Add kiwi to this mix and you will get antioxidants that regulate neurotransmitters and make you sleep better.

2.        Walnuts

Walnuts have to be there on the list of healthy nighttime snacks, thanks to the presence of melatonin. By improving the levels of melatonin in your body, you will be able to improve your sleep-wake cycle, which helps you fall asleep with ease. Just keep in mind that you need to eat nuts in moderation – eat no more than an ounce of walnuts because they are very high in calories.

3.        Banana Smoothie

A mix of low-fat milk and banana will provide you with calcium and vitamin D, both of which help reduce problems associated with falling and staying asleep. Bananas are beneficial because they are sweet but do not have added sugars – they also have magnesium and vitamin B6 that stimulates your body to produce serotonin.

4.        Ginger Tea with Dried Dates

Instead of eating something, why not have a satisfying, fulfilling, and nutritious drink. Ginger tea with dried dates is a perfect choice because you can have it daily and make your brain associated it with sleep. Ginger is extremely beneficial for your digestive system, so are dates.

5.        A Cup of Soup

Having a cup of warm liquid before you go to bed is a good way to satisfy your hunger without being too heavy on your digestive system. A cup of soup will do just that. It is inherently calming, especially if you opt for broth-based ones like chicken noodle. Invest in a single-serve heat-and-eat container to enjoy your soup without any hassle.

6.        Cherries

Cherries naturally contain melatonin, so they automatically fall in the category of healthy nighttime snacks. Melatonin helps regulate your body's internal clock – it lowers your body temperature when it is time to sleep. Studies show that you may sleep 40 minutes longer on average if you drink a couple of glasses of tart cherry juice daily before bed. It also increases sleep efficiency by 6%.

7.        Cottage Cheese

One perfect treat to enjoy before you go to bed is a small bowl of cottage cheese topped with chopped nuts, fresh berries, and cinnamon. Cottage cheese contains slow-digesting protein that keeps you from feeling hungry during the night. It also contains calcium, which eases you to sleep. This treat is going to help you if you often wake up with heartburn in the middle of the night.

8.        Almonds

Almonds are probably the quickest snack you can enjoy before bed. They are loaded with tryptophan as well as magnesium. Tryptophan promotes sleep and magnesium relaxes your muscles. Together, they help you fall asleep with ease. You can also try a mix of dried tart cherries, almonds, sunflower seeds, and toasted coconut flakes to keep you full all night.

9.        Milk

A glass of milk before bed can definitely help ease you to sleep because milk and dairy food contains calcium and tryptophan, both of which promote restful sleep. Calcium deficiency may lead to a lack of deep (REM) sleep. Add some honey to warm milk to get your dose of carbohydrates – this will help you feel relaxed and get a good night's sleep.

10.    Eggs

Loaded with protein, eggs can be a sleep aid in many cases. Whole-wheat toast and a scrambled egg can be a great late-night snack because it provides you with protein and carbs. You get complex carbs from the toast that helps make tryptophan available to your brain. Protein on the other hand staves off hunger and keeps you from waking up in the middle of the night.

What to Avoid for Better Sleep

Knowing about healthy nighttime snacks will definitely help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer, but you also need to have a clue about what to avoid before you go to bed.

  • Avoid caffeine. It stimulates your nervous system and keeps you awake. How caffeine affects people may vary greatly, but it is still a good idea to not have caffeinated drinks at least a couple of hours before bed.
  • Say no to alcohol. You may feel a bit drowsy after a glass of wine, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night. This leaves you sleep deprived. Alcohol also loads you up with empty calories.
  • Avoid large, heavy meals too close to bed. This may cause disruption later in the night. You may have to deal with acid reflux if you eat meals high in fat before bedtime. This will also keep you from getting your weight loss goals.
  • Do not eat packaged foods before you go to bed. They are laden with fat, sugar, and salt, all of which will keep you from having a good night's sleep.
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