Sleep allows our bodies to grow and recover. It helps in conserving energy, repairing muscle, and helping the brain to function properly. Getting enough sleep can help us to attain our fitness goals faster and also improve our mood.
What Are The Foods And Drinks To Have Before Bed?
So it is important for an average person to have seven to eight hours of sleep every day. An easy way to get a good night’s sleep is by eating the right foods. A ‘before bed’ meal should be light and should have the essential nutrients that increase the health benefits that we achieve during sleep. Here are some foods and drinks to have before bedtime.
Types Of Foods
- Nuts: Nuts contain unsaturated fats that are slow digesting. They keep you full without the feeling of being bloated. Unsaturated fats being healthy does not make us fat but rather aids in weight loss. Almonds and walnuts are especially the best, as a handful of them increases the melatonin level, which is an essential hormone that helps in regulating the sleep cycle.
- Cottage cheese: cheese contains slow-digesting fats and a decent amount of lean protein is one of the best foods to have before bed. It contains many essential amino acids that increase serotonin levels and have been used as a remedy for insomnia.
- White Rice: white rice is one of the most widely consumed grains in the world. Its high glycemic index has made it a prohibited food, especially at night. On the contrary, studies have shown that eating foods high in glycemic index 1 hour before bed can improve sleep quality.
- Kiwi: Kiwis are considered superfoods. Low in calories and densely packed with micronutrients, kiwi is truly a superfood. In addition to its nutrient profile, studies have shown people who consumed kiwi one hour before bed had fallen asleep 42% faster than people who does not consume kiwis before sleep.
- Milk: Although a drink, milk is often considered as a meal as a whole due to its filling nature. Loaded with calcium for the bones and protein for the muscles, milk is something you don’t want to miss out on whether the goal is to lose or gain weight. A glass of warm milk with a teaspoon of ashwagandha and a pinch of turmeric can give the sleeping pills, a run for their money.
- Casein protein: Milk when separated we get whey and casein protein. Casein is a slow-digesting protein that is an ideal ‘before bed’ meal for people looking to build muscle. Being slow-digesting, it repairs muscle tissues during sleep. Thus a long gap without food is compensated and is also an excellent meal replacement
- Greek Yogurt: With 20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of fat per serving, Greek yogurt is also considered one of the best bedtime meals. Its abundance in calcium makes it the best bone tonic and as the body repairs during the night it is ideal for people with arthritis. It is also loaded with gut-friendly bacteria that keep our digestive tract healthy and ready for the next day of continuous working. Mixing a scoop of casein protein with a serving of yogurt is a tasty snack to indulge in before bed.
- Chamomile Tea: Usually it is advised to avoid stimulants like tea and coffee 4 hours prior to sleep as it may hinder the sleep cycle but chamomile tea is not our regular cup of tea loaded with caffeine. It is known for its antioxidants and apigenin a special antioxidant that binds to sleep receptors of the brain which in turn induces sleep. Chamomile tea drinkers are shown to have a more improved sleep cycle than non-tea drinkers in a matter of 2 weeks.
- Passionflower Tea: Another tea that induces sleep by reducing anxiety. Its calming properties have been shown to decrease anxiety and are ideal for people battling insomnia.
- Oatmeal: This high-fiber food is not only an ideal breakfast but also an ideal bedtime meal. Oatmeal keeps us full for many hours without making us bloated. Consuming fiber-dense foods before sleep has shown to induce drowsiness and in turn improve sleep, so we won’t have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night for a late-night snack.
- Banana: We sleep better when our body is relaxed. That is what a banana can give you. Bananas are rich in magnesium and potassium, which are great muscle relaxers. Moreover, the sweet fruit contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps in the production of serotonin.
Being said all these there are some foods we should avoid before bed. An important thing to keep in mind is to avoid a large meal. Although we may feel satisfied, our body does not have the ability to digest a heavy meal at night.
Tea and coffee are stimulants that are usually used to increase alertness but nighttime is when our body slows down and drinking these beverages won’t help us to sleep at the desired time ice cream, alcohol, chocolate, fast foods and foods high in sugar are some of the other foods to be avoided.
It can disrupt our sleep cycle, cause dehydration and even fill our guts with empty calories which defeats the whole purpose of sleep.
There are several foods that are best eaten at night because of their ability to induce sleep by controlling the melatonin and serotonin level. Some contain the antioxidants necessary or stress relievers that in turn cause sleep.
Foods that keep us full for many hours without having to eat a huge meal is also good bedtime meal. The bottom line is that a bedtime meal should be light, easy to digest, and loaded with essentials that induce a good night’s sleep.
Apart from these foods staying hydrated can also prevent us from waking up in the middle of the night. Considering sleep is not merely a shutting down process but rather something that restarts our body for a better tomorrow, it is essential for us to have the right meal at the right time.
Lacey Arlo is a wellness expert and a nutritionist who aims to help members with health and diet queries. Lacey Arlo has worked with junior, national, and Olympic-level athletes by providing them with customizing programmers, supplement strategies, and support during their travel and competition. From weight management, PCOD, thyroid-related weight loss, and nutrition for children to diets for pregnant and diets for senior citizens, She offers nutrition-aided solutions for different age groups with consideration for each person’s unique health demands.