Bedtime Snacks That'll Help You Sleep Better

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We’ve been told that eating before bed is a no-no, but research shows that smart nighttime nibbling can actually help you sleep better. The key is what you eat and how much you have. So make sure your snack is truly snack size and avoid things that could upset your stomach or give you heartburn - like cheese, chocolate, spicy foods and citrus. And then give one of these “sleepy snacks” a try.

  • Pumpkin seeds - Think of the magnesium in these as nature’s Ambien. It calms and helps lull you off to sleep and you only need a quarter-cup to get half your daily dose of this soothing mineral.
  • Popcorn - The feel-good chemical serotonin is the key to a good night’s sleep here. And since 80 to 90% of it is made in the gut, noshing on high-fiber eats like popcorn can boost the growth of serotonin-producing gut bacteria, according to Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Marjorie Nolan Cohn.
  • Soy - According to one study, women who are two or more servings of soy daily were almost twice as likely to catch eight hours of Zs than women who didn’t eat soy. Try soy nut butter or roasted edamame soybeans to get your fix.
  • Tart cherries - These tasty treats can also raise your melatonin levels, which tells your body it’s time for sleep.
  • Salmon - It’s full of B vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3s, but it’s the vitamin D in salmon that’s believed to affect the parts of the brain that help you fall asleep and stay there.
  • Yogurt - If you start worrying about your growing to-do list when your head hits the pillow, eating yogurt could help you unwind. Research shows that probiotic-filled fermented dairy (like kefir or yogurt) can lead you to shut-eye by lowering levels of cortisol - the stress hormone that leaves you wired and awake.

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