The Best Snack to Eat Before Bedtime, According to a Dietitian
Most Americans don't get enough sleep. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 1 in 3 adults are sleep deprived. Healthy sleep duration is pinpointed at seven hours each night—some people need more, while others operate just fine on seven hours. Sleep is vital for maintaining good health, both mentally and physically. Eating a full meal before bedtime isn't advised though because it can cause indigestion and disrupt your sleep cycle. But is there a suitable snack to have before bed if you're hungry?
See, going to bed hungry isn't conducive either, especially if you're tossing and turning for hours at night in an attempt to quiet your grumbling stomach. Consistently going to bed famished is also linked to an increased likelihood of binging food later in the day. So to avoid over-eating during the day, we asked Sydney Greene, MS, RD, to lend insight on what she thinks is a suitable pre-bedtime snack that will help you sleep.
What's the best snack to eat before bed to help you sleep?
Thankfully, there are actually a few options. The best snack to eat before bed is not just one specific food, but rather a combination of two foods. The key is to pair a healthy, nutrient-dense carbohydrate with a protein. The result is a small yet satiating snack that prevents blood sugar levels from dropping mid-slumber, causing you to wake up and fend off incessant hunger pangs.
Greene offers a couple of combinations, but she also recommends adding another component into your bedtime ritual.
"I recommend sticking to water or a cup of herbal tea one hour before bed, but if you didn't eat enough at dinner or can't fall asleep because your belly is rumbling, [you can] grab something small. Think 100-150 calories or so that also contains a complex carbohydrate and protein," she says.
The best food combinations to help you sleep:
- 1 tbsp dried tart cherries + 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 Babybel cheese + 1 small apple
- 1 Wasa cracker + 1 tbsp hummus
- 1/4 banana + 1 tbsp almond butter
Our favorite combination is the dried tart cherries with peanut butter. Why? Greene says cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which is the hormone that's known to induce sleep. It's twice as nice for your body and your bedtime!
Try having one of these snacks with a cup of tea or water for a better night's rest.