Having trouble getting to sleep and staying there? If you find your stomach rumbling just before bedtime, you’ll likely want to grab a quick bite—but not all snacks are created equal.


While eating a snack before bed when you’re hungry is okay for most people, foods that are high in sugar (sorry, ice cream) can spike your insulin levels and make it difficult to fall asleep, while acidic foods (like tomato sauce or oranges) can cause sleep-disrupting acid reflux. Your ideal nighttime snack (if you’re too hungry to wait for morning) should be small and eaten a couple hours before bed.


So, when you’re in need of a snack, we’ve compiled a list of healthier options to enjoy before you hit the hay—they encourage better sleep quality and may even help you catch those Zzz’s a little faster. Sleep tight!

 

 

1. Bananas & Peanut Butter

Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium, which can help your muscles relax. Peanut butter contains tryptophan, an amino acid that gets turned into melatonin to regulate sleep. When you combine the two, you have the ultimate pre-bed snack. 

 

2. Almonds

While research is limited on the link between eating almonds and getting quality rest, we do know that almonds are a source of melatonin and magnesium. Plus, almonds contain fiber, protein and vitamin E and can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, so it’s a snack win. Try a serving before bed (1 oz, which is a small a handful) and see if it works for you!

 

3. Cereal and Milk

Breakfast before bed sounds a little strange, but this combination can be a great nighttime snack—when done right. Choose low-fat milk or almond milk, since these contain tryptophan. Then choose a low-sugar cereal (look for less than 5g of sugar per serving with more than 2g of fiber!) so you’ll stay full without spiking your insulin levels.

 

4. Before-bed Drinks

Prefer to sip instead of snack? Try a cup of chamomile tea. It contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia. It has some additional pluses, two: some research suggests that drinking chamomile tea may reduce anxiety, improve skin health and boost your immune system.

 

Ever tried tart cherry juice? We heard it could boost melatonin levels to improve your sleep quality, so when Coach Andy said she’d added it to her nutrition plan, we asked for the details. Click here to see what she thought after drinking tart cherry juice every day for a month.