5 Best Foods and Drinks to Have Before You Go to Bed
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Disclaimer: This blog post is proudly sponsored by Nurse Mates, but all opinions are my own. Nurse Mates are committed to bringing you the very best in quality footwear, scrubs and accessories. From comfort technologies to timeless style, inspired by nurses, Nurse Mates have created bespoke products that will meet the demands of your workday, becoming the trusted, most dependable product source for your workday and for everyday healthy lifestyles. As a Nurse Mates affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.
It’s well after dark and your stomach is rumbling.
The challenge is figuring out what you can eat that’s quick, tasty and won’t cause you to pack on the pounds.
After all, there’s growing scientific evidence that eating too late at night could make weight control harder.
Fortunately, if you’re truly hungry, a small, nutrient-rich snack under 200 calories is generally fine at night.
Some snacks even contain compounds that may help you sleep better.
Here are 5 excellent and healthy late-night snack ideas.
1. Tart Cherries
Consider adding tart cherries like Maraschino or Montmorency or their juice to your late-night snack options.
A few, small studies suggest that they may help you sleep better. What’s more, they have anti-inflammatory benefits and may offer protection against inflammation-related conditions like arthritis and heart disease.
In a recent study, a small group of older women with insomnia drank 8 ounces (240 ml) of 100% tart cherry juice or a placebo drink at breakfast and 1–2 hours before bedtime.
After two weeks, an on-site sleep test showed that those drinking cherry juice slept nearly one and a half hours more at night, compared to the placebo group.
Tart cherries contain the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, but only a relatively small amount.
However, they also contain the phytochemical procyanidin B-2, thought to protect the amino acid tryptophan in your blood, which can be used to make melatonin.
An 8-ounce (240-ml) glass of 100% tart cherry juice or one-third cup (40 grams) of dried tart cherries have around 140 calories.
Tart cherries and their juice make an ideal late-night snack since studies suggest they may help you sleep better. Eight ounces (240-ml) of 100% tart cherry juice or one-third cup (40 grams) of dried tart cherries have around 140 calories.
2. Banana With Almond Butter
One small banana dipped in a tablespoon (16 grams) of unsweetened almond butter is a tasty, 165-calorie pairing that may even help you sleep.
One study in healthy men found a more than 4-fold increase in melatonin blood levels within two hours of eating two bananas.
Bananas are one of the few fruits known to be relatively rich in the nerve messenger serotonin, some of which your body converts to melatonin.
Almonds and almond butter supply some melatonin as well. Plus, they’re a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E and magnesium.
Magnesium has been linked to good sleep, since it may support your body’s production of melatonin.
Snacking on a banana dipped in almond butter may help increase your body’s melatonin levels to support a good night’s sleep — all that for only about 165 calories.
3. Protein Smoothie
Eating a protein-rich snack before bed could support muscle repair and help slow down age-related muscle loss, particularly if you exercise routinely.
Smoothies are an easy and tasty way to sneak in protein-rich milk before bed.
For example, blend 8 ounces (240 ml) of low-fat milk with 2/3 cups (110 grams) of frozen grapefruit and Protein Powder for a tropical treat with only around 180 calories.
What’s more, milk is rich in tryptophan. Your body uses this amino acid to make both serotonin and melatonin, which aid sleep.
Protein Powder has been found to boost melatonin levels as well.
4. Goji Berries
The red-orange color of these sweet-tart berries hints at their rich supply of antioxidants, including carotenoids.
Goji berries also contain a bit of melatonin, which may help you sleep.
In a preliminary, two-week study, participants drank 4 ounces (120 ml) of goji berry juice or a placebo beverage.
More than 80% of people in the goji berry group reported improved sleep quality, and about 70% found it easier to wake up, while around 50% reported feeling less tired. People in the placebo group reported no such benefits.
Larger, more rigorous studies are needed to confirm these sleep benefits, but goji berries are a simple, nutrient-rich snack, in any case.
One-fourth cup (40 grams) of dried goji berries has 150 calories. You can eat them like raisins or add them to trail mix or cereal.
Goji berries are an antioxidant-rich snack, which may aid good sleep. One-fourth cup (40 grams) of these tasty, dried berries has only 150 calories.
5. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that may offer a variety of health benefits.
It’s well known for its flavones. Flavones are a class of antioxidants that reduce the inflammation that often leads to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
There’s also some evidence that drinking chamomile tea may boost your immune system, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve skin health. In addition, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality.
Specifically, chamomile tea contains apigenin. This antioxidant binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
One 2011 study in 34 adults found those who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster and experienced less nighttime wakening compared to those who didn’t consume the extract.
Another study found that women who drank chamomile tea for 2 weeks reported improved sleep quality compared to non-tea drinkers.
Those who drank chamomile tea also had fewer symptoms of depression, which is commonly associated with sleep problems.
Drinking chamomile tea before going to bed is certainly worth trying if you want to improve the quality of your sleep.
Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that may promote sleepiness, and drinking it has been shown to improve overall sleep quality.
If you’re truly hungry late at night — rather than just bored or stressed — eating a snack under 200 calories shouldn’t tip the scales.
Whole, minimally processed foods like berries, kiwis, goji berries, edamame, pistachios, oatmeal, plain yogurt and eggs make easy, tasty and healthy late-night snacks.
Many of these foods even contain sleep-supportive compounds, including tryptophan, serotonin, melatonin, magnesium and calcium.
The most important thing is to keep healthy snacks on hand that you enjoy. You’ll be less tempted to run to the convenience store or hit the nearest fast-food drive-through for an unhealthy, high-calorie snack before bed.
This blog post is proudly sponsored by Nurse Mates, but all opinions are my own. Nurse Mates are committed to bringing you the very best in quality footwear, scrubs and accessories. From comfort technologies to timeless style, inspired by nurses, Nurse Mates have created bespoke products that will meet the demands of your workday, becoming the trusted, most dependable product source for your workday and for everyday healthy lifestyles. As a Nurse Mates affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.