Do you find that you eat dinner later and later these days? With a lot of us working long hours and sometimes not sitting down to eat until 9 or 10pm, we can often eat right before we go to bed. Or, perhaps you do manage to have your dinner at a normal time, but you find yourself getting peckish later and need to have a snack. Despite this, we all know that eating right before you lie down to go to sleep isn’t the healthiest thing in the world. Sometimes, it can leave you feeling bloated, as you don’t get the opportunity to work off any of the food. This can also lead to an increased weight gain, especially if your food is carb-heavy. Or, perhaps you find that eating food right before bed fills you with energy, making it difficult for you to get to sleep. Whether you’re a late eater or a bedtime snacker, making informed food decisions at night could lead to a happier and healthier you.
Walnuts and almonds
Eating both walnuts and almonds before bed can help induce a deeper sleep. Walnuts contain high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid which is said to be responsible for aiding sleep. This is because it is linked to the chemical melatonin in the brain, the chemical which regulates our natural body clocks. Almonds are magnesium rich, providing an essential mineral for the body which in turn helps you fall asleep quicker.
Unless you feel like snacking on leafy vegetables before bedtime, lettuce is probably best eaten as part of your evening meal. It may seem like an unusual option for a sleep aid, but lettuce does, in fact, contain a powerful component known as ‘lettuce opium’. Its real name is tryptophan, but it is known as lettuce opium due to its natural sedative-like properties.
We’ve all heard about drinking a cup of chamomile tea before going to sleep. However, if chamomile isn’t your thing, don’t panic – there are other types of tea you can try. A great alternative is rooibos tea. Unlike traditional teas, this mixture doesn’t come from regular tea bushes, but instead from the African rooibos plant. It is rich in magnesium and is a relaxing drink to sip on before bed.
You may have heard that eating cheese before bed can give you nightmares. Actually, there is no solid evidence that this can ever happen, at least as a direct result of cheese-eating. In fact, cheese is one of the best things to eat before bed as again, it is a very high in tryptophan. Due to its high calcium levels, it can also regulate muscle movement, meaning you are less likely to be fidgety at night.
Just as feeling too full before you go to bed can impede on your quality of sleep, so can going to sleep hungry. Cereal is a great option for when you have nothing else in the house. The cereal itself is full of fibre and carbs, and having it with milk means you also get a healthy dose of calcium – all important components for a good night’s sleep.