After-dinner snacking has always been on the forbidden list for every weight watcher. However, there is now surprising research that says certain midnight snacks might not be such a bad thing after all. 70% of Americans have trouble falling asleep and the solution to their sleepless woes might be a snack. There are certain foods that have been found to contain sleep-inducing ingredients, making them ideal as a bedtime snack. But it’s important you keep your snack at just that, a snack. If you overeat, you’re going to have even more trouble falling asleep. So tonight when you are tossing and turning, just make your way to the kitchen and munch on any of these snacks.
When nighttime falls, our body automatically starts gearing itself for sleep. This is because melatonin levels increase at night which signals our body to prepare itself to get into sleep mode. Bananas are loaded with melatonin as well as magnesium. Magnesium slows down your heart rate, also helping you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep experts recommend regularly drinking a smoothie at night which includes the banana skins because the skin contains 3 times more magnesium than the fruit does.
Make yourself a warm bowl of oatmeal to help you reach Sleepytown. Oatmeal is rich in carbohydrates which makes tryptophan more available to the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body uses to make melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin induces sleep while serotonin helps you feel calm and relaxed. This is one of the main reasons why you always feel sleepy after a carbohydrate-rich meal.
3. Cherry Juice
A glass of cherry juice before you sleep is going to help you doze off much easier. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Rochester divided participants into two groups to study the effects of cherry juice on their sleep cycles. They found that the group who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks had an average of 90 minutes longer sleep compared to the placebo group. Tart cherries are one of the most potent natural sources of melatonin, which will help regulate your sleep cycle and improve the quality of your sleep.
4. Good Old Glass Of Milk
The age-old solution to sleepless nights, a glass of warm milk, actually has plenty of scientific evidence to back it up. Cheese, milk and yogurt are high in calcium that stimulates your brain to convert the tryptophan into melatonin. So have a cheese and cracker, a fruit yogurt or just a glass of milk if you want to sleep deeper tonight. Make sure that there’s no sugar added to any of the dairy products you’re consuming, because nothing can disrupt your sleep like sugar.
Munching on lettuce leaves at night is not what we would usually consider a snack. But we now know what the Romans already knew centuries ago. Lettuce is rich in lactucarium which acts almost like opium when it comes to soothing your nervous system. You can eat it as a salad along with your dinner or make a smoothie with it along with a a whole banana (skin and all). Hot lettuce tea just before bed is also very effective. Simmer 4 leaves of lettuce along with a few sprigs of mint in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes and let this natural opiate work its magic on you.
6. Pretzels And Corn Chips
Reach for that packet of pretzels or corn chips without any guilt pangs. These snacks raise your glycemic and insulin levels very quickly. A sudden rise is not always good as it can cause mood swings and insulin resistance. However at times when sleep is eluding you, this can actually help get you to rest. The blood sugar and insulin increase in the blood helps tryptophan assimilation in the brain which helps brings on sleep. However, don’t let this become a habit because eating pretzels every night will make you put on weight.
7. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is the best go-to remedy if you don’t feel like a snack but still want something that will help you to sleep. It’s been nicknamed the ‘sleep tea’ because it’s so effective. Chamomile tea has been used for long as a herbal remedy to treat many disorders, especially insomnia. The American Chemical Society has found it raises the glycine levels in your body. This chemical relaxes both your nerves as well as your muscles and also acts as a mild sedative.