Top tip: make double the amount of your overnight oats recipe, and save half for bedtime.
Almonds - recommended as a filling snack to have throughout the day, as they’re a filling source of healthy fats, and protein. However, they’re also great to have right before you catch some sleep. Almonds will provide the body with tryptophan, an amino acid needed for the production of serotonin and melatonin. These aid the body with the sleep/wake cycle and can promote healthy sleep patterns.
Top tip: if you’re having oats as suggested above, sprinkle some chopped almonds on top. Or, keep a bag of almonds next to your bed for healthy snacking any time of day.
Bananas - usually eaten as an energy-boosting snack, however bananas will also boost your sleep. Supplying your body with the sleep-promoting melatonin and serotonin, as well as being high in magnesium which can be a muscle relaxant.
Top tip: make your banana fancy by mushing it onto some toast with a little sprinkling of almonds, or a drizzle of honey.
Honey - sweet and powerful, honey is a fantastic pre-bed snack. Also boosting your body with melatonin, encouraging a great night’s sleep. Honey will also discourage orexin, which can keep the body alert, even when you don’t want it to be. It is also an antioxidant, which means it will help to protect the body while you rest.
Top tip: choose Manuka honey as it packs the most impressive benefits. Mix it into yogurt, bind oats with it or sweeten your nighttime tea with it.
And now, the bad…
The Worst Foods To Eat Before Bed:
Caffeine - this one sounds obvious, however, you’ll be surprised how many fall victim to pre-bed caffeine when enjoying their evening tea or pre-workout shake. The other sneaky thing about caffeine is that it remains in your system for hours after it's ingested, in fact, half of the amount consumed can still be in your system up to 10 hours later.
Top tip: switch to decaf halfway through the day, or cut it out completely and see how your rest improves.
Alcohol - unsurprisingly, having alcohol in your system can lead to a night of restless sleep. Some people report that falling asleep becomes easier after a drink (or a few), however, the quality of that sleep will be poor. As discussed, poor sleep means less recovery from the day - which may explain hangovers, and why you wake up feeling tired (even though you only had a few).
Fatty Food - fatty foods are more likely to lead to heartburn, and are difficult for your body to digest - meaning a poorer sleep.
Cheese - you’ve probably heard the old wives’ tale that eating cheese before bed will lead to bad dreams. Well, there’s a reason for that. Cheese consumption increases the release of norepinephrine - a brain stimulant.
Spicy Foods - eating hot, spicy foods can lead to a hot, restless body that’s unable to sleep. Chilies contain capsaicin, which can increase internal temperatures as it prevents the body from regulating itself efficiently.
So, equipped with all of this new information are you now pro pre-bed snacking, or against it. Remember, whichever option you are - eat wisely.