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Cannot fall asleep? Eat this!

Published 2 years ago at 06 Jul 2020 by Alexandra Soare

Hey there! This is Alex! I am a food scientist. I started this blog because there is a lot of misinformation out there. My mission is to give you the most scientifically accurate information out there.

When it comes to snacks before bed, there are many opinions. That's why I put together for you all the most relevant scientific studies on this topic.

Should you have a snack before bedtime?

Yes! Go for it! Just keep in mind the following rules!
According to the study "The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating: Old and New Perspectives" your snack should be:

  1. Less than 150 kcal
  2. Nutrient-dense
  3. Single foods rather than large mixed-meals

But ... what to do if you cannot sleep?

As you have seen before, small snacks are ok before bed. Are there snacks that can also help you sleep better? Yes! After looking through scientific papers, I found ways to influence your sleeping patterns thanks to diet! I collected them in this small infographic. Find out down below how each type of nutrient can help you!

Melatonin foods examples

Why milk and yogurt?

I want to start with the milk because it is one of the most interesting facts. Milk contains tryptophan which is an amino acid that is later transformed in serotonin and melatonin. But this is not the reason why it is on the list. Milk has more of a psychological association (i.e., the memory of a mother giving milk at bedtime.)

Scientists noticed also that milk given to mice before sleep generally reduced their central nervous system excitability. The interesting part is that milk given during the day didn't have this effect.

Based on these studies (you find them in the references at the end), you try having a glass of warm milk before sleeping!

Melatonin rich foods

In general fruits and vegetables are very recommended. The 2018 UK Women’s Cohort Study found the following:

Short sleepers had on average 17 grams of fiber a day compared to the long sleepers that had 25 grams/d.

Do you want to hear an even better news? Certain fruits can help you sleep more than others. Why? Because they melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep. Just remember to wash your teeth after your late-night snack!

Why kiwis before sleep?

For four weeks, study subjects ate two kiwis before sleep time. The results were surprising. ). Total sleep time and sleep efficiency were significantly increased (13.4% and 5.41%, respectively), and waking time during the night decreased by 43%. The hypothesis is that kiwi contains a lot of antioxidants and serotonin, which help fight insomnia.

Why cherries before sleep?

In the 2010 study on cherry juice and insomnia, scientists made quite an observation! The participants that drank cherry juice slept 84 mins more a night in comparison to the placebo group. They assumed it was because of the melatonin. However, this sleep-promoting molecule is present only in small doses. The procyanidin is what made the difference. This molecule protects the tryptophan, which is later transformed into melatonin.

Why protein smoothies?

Easy! They contain tryptophan. As mentioned before, this ammino acid is later transformed into melatonin.

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