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The #1 Best Thing to Eat for Better Sleep, Says a Dietitian

Looking to doze off a little quicker? Want to feel well rested when you wake up? This bedtime snack is for you.
Woman using spoon to eat kiwi

It's time to put to bed the age-old myth about it being bad to eat late at night. As long as you're eating healthy bedtime snacks, having a bite in the night won't make you gain weight; in fact, eating the right foods before sleep can actually help promote better and more restful sleep! And there's one snack, in particular, that is worth adding to your nighttime rotation to stop counting sheep: kiwi fruit.

"While tried-and-true bedtime snacks like a warm and soothing mug of milk can help people unwind and get some restful sleep, I have found that one evening ritual that people are happy to stick to is to eat two kiwi fruits before they hit the hay," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian and member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board.

It may sound odd that this tiny tropical fruit can support better sleep, but Manaker told us that the evidence is clear—it can really work! Here's how:

"Kiwis naturally contain serotonin, a neurotransmitter that, when levels are low, may negatively affect quality sleep. In one study, people who ate two kiwi fruits one hour before bed for four weeks experienced increased total sleep time and sleep efficiency," she explains.

That's not the only way eating kiwi can help you sleep better. Manaker mentions that the fruit has another thing going for it—its high fiber content.

"Since kiwis naturally contain fiber, eating them can promote satiety, too, helping you sleep through the night with no hunger pangs," says Manaker.

That's right! While consuming some of the worst foods before sleep—like those that may cause acid reflux—can cause you to toss and turn throughout the night, eating the right foods before bed (like kiwi) can actually be good for you.

A bonus? You'll get one serving of fruit in by heeding Manaker's advice, something that only a small percentage of Americans currently do. Just one in 10 American adults consume the USDA daily recommended intake of fruit per day, which is just 2 cups.

So to sleep better tonight, head to the grocery store and pick up a couple kiwis. You can eat them on their own, slice them up and pair them with some yogurt, or even add them to a nighttime smoothie! And speaking of fruit, next up you should learn about these Surprising Side Effects of Not Eating Fruit, Say Dietitians.

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Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more
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