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10 Foods You Can Eat Before Bed to Help You Sleep

I like to write about interesting commercial topics, and good eats are no exception.

10 Foods You Can Eat Before Bed to Help You Sleep

10 Foods You Can Eat Before Bed to Help You Sleep

Snacks to Eat in the Evening

Do you ever crave a snack or something to eat before bed? If you’re like most people, the answer is yes. It's not uncommon to want a taste of comfort food while watching a television show or a late-night movie before bedtime.

Eating some food before we go to sleep can make us feel full and comforted. Yet, many of the foods we snack on in the evenings are difficult to digest and can prevent us from getting a good night's sleep.

Here is some insight into eight well-known foods that are smart choices to eat before bed because they won't leave you feeling too full or uncomfortable and may have positive nutritional benefits.

What Should You Eat Before Bed?

As a general rule, we should avoid eating anything less than three hours before bedtime. However, if you feel hungry before retiring to sleep, chances are you shouldn’t ignore your hunger pangs. Your next meal won’t be coming along for another seven or eight hours, and you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry.

So what are the most nutritious foods to eat before hitting the hay?

Ideally, you shouldn’t snack on anything with a high-calorie content or anything with too much sugar. During sleep, the body does not burn off many calories, so high-calorie foods are more likely to be stored as fat, and sugary foods can keep you awake well into the night.

Instead, look for a small, low-calorie, low-sugar snack that will satisfy your craving and won't disrupt a body that is about to shut off for the night. Here are a few ideas for an ideal bedtime snack that you won’t regret eating.

Oatmeal is a source of plenty of nutrients which are thought to have a positive effect on sleep quality.

Oatmeal is a source of plenty of nutrients which are thought to have a positive effect on sleep quality.

Foods That Help You Sleep

1. Oatmeal and Honey

A steaming bowl of warm oatmeal can have a calming effect and is a source of melatonin which helps to regulate your internal clock. Oats are also rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, magnesium, and other nutrients thought to improve sleep quality, and they're high in carbs.

Honey contains a natural compound called “orexin” which is said to help prepare the brain for sleep, making it an excellent alternative to sugar. One study indicated that children with respiratory infections who consumed honey before bed showed improved sleep quality. Another study found that a combination of milk and honey had beneficial effects on overall sleep quality for adults with heart disease.

2. Tuna

Tuna, a high-protein snack, is a suitable candidate for a bedtime meal that will digest slowly overnight. Other fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, can produce the same beneficial effects due to their combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. These have both been shown to increase serotonin production in numerous studies. Vitamin D has also been connected to increased sleep quality.

3. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a dairy product that is high in protein. Along with other lean proteins, cottage cheese is high in the essential acid tryptophan which can increase serotonin levels and have relaxing effects.

One study found a connection between eating cottage cheese before bed and weight loss which is thought to be connected to the abundance of casein, a slow-releasing protein that aids with muscle growth. Consider adding a few fresh berries or honey to your cottage cheese for some natural sweetness and added nutrients.

4. High-Fiber Cereal and Milk

Whole-grain cereals contain complex carbohydrates that are satisfying and boost serotonin to promote calm and relaxation. The fiber in the cereal is digested slowly through the night.

Milk contains tryptophan. According to several studies, consuming more tryptophan in the diet can enhance sleep quality by raising melatonin levels. One study found that some adults showed improved sleep when combining milk with light exercise.

Almonds contain "good fats" and melatonin to promote healthy sleep.

Almonds contain "good fats" and melatonin to promote healthy sleep.

5. Hard-Boiled Egg

Eggs are high in protein and provide a satisfying snack that is slowly digested and will help you sleep through the night. A quick, protein-dense snack before bed can help your blood sugar levels remain balanced throughout the evening.

You may consider eating your eggs with a small slice of flax bread. Flax contains omega-3 which improves brain function, while bread provides complex carbohydrates that boost serotonin.

6. Bananas

Bananas are a natural low-fat and high-fiber food. The magnesium and potassium in bananas can also help relax tired or overworked muscles. Bananas are also a rich source of L-tryptophan. This is converted to 5-HTP in the brain and later converted to melatonin and serotonin which aid in relaxation and promote sound sleep.

Eating foods that are rich in potassium, such as bananas, may help people sleep through the night, according to studies. Therefore, boosting potassium levels may significantly help people who experience difficulty staying asleep.

7. Cherries

Cherries naturally boost the body’s supply of melatonin. In one study, participants who consumed tart cherry juice for seven days showed marked increases in sleep quality and duration as well as melatonin levels. Another study found that adults who drank one cup of cherry juice before bed slept longer than those who didn't.

Cherry juice and other concentrated versions of the fruit have been the focus of scientific studies; therefore, more research is needed to understand whether fresh or frozen cherries would have the same beneficial effects.

8. Almonds

If you’re really hungry, eating a small handful of natural almonds will quickly tame your appetite as well as provide your body with "healthy fats." Almonds contain lots of magnesium which may improve sleep quality and help to promote sleep with its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its ability to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Almonds also contain melatonin. One study found rats that consumed 400 mg of almond extract slept longer and deeper than those that didn't. However, more research is needed to understand the connection between almonds and sleep and the potential for beneficial sleep-related effects on humans.

Kiwifruits may also be among the most beneficial foods to eat before bedtime, according to studies

Kiwifruits may also be among the most beneficial foods to eat before bedtime, according to studies

9. Kiwifruits

Kiwifruits may also be among the most beneficial foods to eat before bedtime, according to studies on their potential to enhance sleep quality. Kiwis have been shown to improve sleep, which is sometimes attributed to serotonin, which aids in controlling your sleep cycle.

In one study, 24 adults ate two kiwifruits every night an hour before bed. Participants in the study eventually fell asleep 42% faster than they would have if they hadn't eaten anything before bed. Additionally, they experienced a 5% improvement in uninterrupted sleep throughout the night and a 13% increase in total sleep time.

10. Turkey

Turkey is often recommended as being among the most relaxing foods to eat before bed, thanks to the amino acid tryptophan. If you've even fallen asleep after a holiday feast, it's largely attributed to turkey's high tryptophan content.

Therefore, a simple turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread makes a nutritious snack to eat at bedtime that could make you sleepy, and is high in fiber, too!

Foods to Avoid Before Bed

Some foods should be avoided before bed because they have been shown to cause sleep disturbances due to their stimulant effects or because of their disruptive digestive needs. Most sleep hygiene experts advise against consuming foods or drinks containing caffeine (such as coffee, energy drinks, soft drinks, tea, and chocolate) and other stimulants in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Summary

If you've heard that eating after 7 o'clock is bad for you, it's probably because studies suggest that snacks consumed too late in the day may have a negative impact on weight gain and metabolic health. In fact, eating after 10 o'clock may even have a detrimental effect on our metabolic rate, glucose intolerance, and fat-burning capacity. Having said that, going to bed hungry isn't desirable either. Some research has discovered that going without food before sleeping can actually make you more likely to develop obesity, asthma, and other health issues. So if you decide to reach for a bedtime snack, how about choosing one of these ten nutrient-rich choices?

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Louise Fiolek

What foods do you eat before bed?

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 12, 2017:

This is a great list of healthy foods to eat before bed. I might keep this list handy for future snacking every night. Good reads!

Naveen on June 14, 2014:

Hope it will help...

humming bird on October 20, 2012:

hi clover bird'''' i luv your comment i too have a problem of sleeping at night i eat a lot of calories ; but i have considered eating a healthy habit. it is really important.

webrevolve from Liverpool on September 21, 2012:

You don't have any snoring remedies by any chance do you Cloverleaf? :p

Free2writ3 from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania on July 23, 2012:

Great hub..thanks for the info

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on June 27, 2012:

Great hub and advice. I eat some of the foods you mention- cottage cheese , almonds , tuna , hard boiled eggs and they really are great because they don't put on the pounds. Very enjoyable read! Thanks for sharing!

subscribing on June 15, 2012:

Nice hub! I really have also considered eating healthier with time as well. It is very important.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on March 01, 2012:

Hi Rob, I have to say that bananas and oatmeal is one of my very favourite snacks at any time of the day. And I'm inclined to pour honey on most things because it's so yummy and good for us! The fiber element is very important too. Take care!

Hi MissOlive, I appreciate the comment and bookmark. You're so good to me! This is actually my most popular hub out of all 95 published so far. I'll be doing a "foods for energy" hub as part of the March contest and challenge, too!

Hi Dipsmi, I think you'll be sleeping like a baby tonight after buying all the right foods. Good for you!

Hi rasta1, your feedback was great, thank you. There's a lot to be said for a good night's sleep, isn't there?

Carldavies1234, hopefully it's just a very fast metabolism!!! LOL.

carldavies1234 from manchester on March 01, 2012:

Some good tips. I'm always hungry before bed time. (I think i've got worms) lol...

~Carl

rlaha from Spartanburg, SC on February 29, 2012:

These foods are also great snacks throughout the day! Thank you so much for sharing! Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

Marvin Parke from Jamaica on February 29, 2012:

These foods do help to calm nerves. I would not suggest that the body should be digesting food while your sleeping(slow digesting foods are not ideal). Its best to have a empty stomach to fall asleep. Good hub.

dipsmi from Plymouth, Minnisota on February 29, 2012:

bananas, cherries and almonds purchased today after reading the hub!!!! Thank you so much :)

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on February 29, 2012:

Excellent hub Cloverleaf! I'm a fan of 'healthy tips and hubs" this one is going into my healthy hub bookmark file. The banana, honey and oatmeal mix in your comment above sounds perfect! yum!

Great choices and reasons.

Thank you for sharing this info - voted up, across and sharing!

rob_allen from MNL, PH on February 29, 2012:

Great and useful list. I love bananas mixed with oatmeal and honey. Light, healthy and rich in fiber! :)

FordeAhern from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland on February 24, 2012:

Hi there, your hub is great, I love Bananas and love to have one before bedtime. thank you for all the tips. voted up and useful.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on February 23, 2012:

Hi DeviousOne, getting home late is a difficult situation and one that I have faced myself on many occasion and so I try to eat as light as supper as possible. In my opinion, it's better to eat something than to go hungry, regardless of metabolism or body type. I have a friend who works out at the gym regularly after work and then comes home and eats a big meal before bed. Not surprisingly, he doesn't usually sleep very well. Even though he has a fast metabolism, I would say that he would be better off eating a good, well rounded and hearty lunch to sustain him through the afternoon, and then eat lighter in the evening. Thanks for posting such a great question.

DeviousOne from Sydney, Australia on February 21, 2012:

That's pretty interesting. Some good tips there. I think the hardest thing for me is having dinner at the right time and the right amount of food. Leaving work at 5.30pm, getting home at 7pm and then sleeping about 10pm. In your opinion, would those tips apply to all body types with a fast and slow metabolism?

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on February 13, 2012:

wow thanks for these tips.. I will definitely use them.

nice to meet you

Debbie

wmhseo from Canada on February 13, 2012:

One of food that I eat before going to bed is an oatmeal.

Deninson Mota from East Elmhurst, NY on February 12, 2012:

These are a great choice.

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on February 12, 2012:

Good list! I feel hungry mostly as I eat my dinner at 7 in the evening but go to bed only after 2 AM. I often end up eating fruits, popcorn or having juice to control my hunger.

the-remedy from Houston on February 07, 2012:

Thanks for these very useful tips. I'm always hungry before bed and now I think my snack of choice will be almonds or tuna...instead of ice cream and chips. lol Loved it, thanks!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on February 05, 2012:

I am always looking for things to help me fall asleep. I think I would enjoy several of these. Great hub. Voting across!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on February 05, 2012:

Wow--interesting hub. Helpful to many people. Many votes on this one!!!!

Kristine Manley from Atlanta, GA on February 04, 2012:

I like the oatmeal and honey.

Audrey Howitt from California on February 04, 2012:

This all sounds much better than my usual popcorn--

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on February 04, 2012:

I like how you help explain what it supplies to our bodies as well as the fact these are healthy and affordable foods to add to our pantry. Thank you for the information.

AllSuretyBonds on October 03, 2011:

After reading this I want to go get a snack. All your suggestions sound so good. Thanks for the tips.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 25, 2011:

Hi Mariazeyn,

That's awesome, thank you! I added a link to your "10 Strategies to Wake Up Early and Stay Fresh" into my related hubs above. Now we can sleep well AND get up early the next day :-)

Cloverleaf.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 25, 2011:

Hi Pamela,

That's great - thanks for commenting!

Cloverleaf.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 25, 2011:

Hi BeautyFeather,

You suggested some really helpful meditation techniques that compliment eating healthy food before bedtime. Slowing down breathing and meditating will certainly help to keep me calm before going to sleep. I was just reading your hub about ear massage - fascinating! Thanks for your comment.

Cloverleaf.

mariazeyn from Ontario on September 25, 2011:

Really useful hub Cloverleaf! I am not usually hungry late night but when I am I find bananas really fill me up and I am less inclined to munch junk food. Ooh, a glass of milk also helps!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 22, 2011:

Excellent information. I never eat right before bed but it is good to have some healthy choices.

Beautyfeather from Shanghai China on September 21, 2011:

Very useful! like the content and photos you describe.From my view, banana and almond among the foods your recommended are not so appropriate for eating before bed, for banana could promote gastrointestinal motility and defecation, which could disrupt sleeping, while almond relatively high calorie. and I think yoghourt is the best.But there is another question, it is good for you to prefer healthy food to avoid the negative side of eating before bed,you will get it as habit, and your brain will get used to it.The solution is that you can transfer your eating mind to meditation, sitting on the bed cross-legged, concentration you mind and have an abdominal breathing......then the idea of eating could be drived away, and you could sleep well.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 21, 2011:

Hello Miss Paula,

Thanks for coming by to comment, I just read one of your own hubs and enjoyed it thoroughly - it's very nice to meet you here :-)

Cloverleaf.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 21, 2011:

Sleep tight, injured lamb, thanks for your kind comment!

Cloverleaf.

Miss Paula on September 21, 2011:

Very useful information. I will have try one these the next time I'm hungry at bed time.

GOD BLESS!!!!!!

Injured lamb on September 20, 2011:

Bananas...cherries...almonds...oh okay, enough for me before bed...thanks again Cloverleaf for a good job done...

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 20, 2011:

Hi John,

I like your idea of eating a big lunch. That way we aren't tempted to eat too much at night. Thanks for leaving a really great comment, I appreciate it!

Cloverleaf.

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on September 20, 2011:

Thanks for sharing. If I ate a really big lunch, then I just like to drink something at night, so instead of eating anything after I come home from the gym, I'll just zip down a coke....

Take care

John

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 19, 2011:

LOL @ Sunshine. That's OK, I just ate a handful of peanuts so I'm a bad girl too! I should have opted for the almonds. Still, it's only 7pm so it will be a few hours before bedtime. Enjoy your poptart!

Cloverleaf.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 19, 2011:

I'm eating a poptart ... I'm a bad girl but it's yummy! :)

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 19, 2011:

Hi midnightbliss

Thanks for your comment and sleep well tonight :-)

Cloverleaf.

Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on September 19, 2011:

nice hub and useful tips on proper food choices for better sleep. banana, milk and honey sounds good to me. yum.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 19, 2011:

You're welcome, LULU SUE! :-)

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 19, 2011:

Nice to see you again Kamran! Eating foods that are easy to digest are much better than going to bed on an empty stomach so I hope you find something in the list that works for you. Thanks for the vote up, too :-)

Cloverleaf.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 19, 2011:

Nice to see you again Kamran! Eating foods that are easy to digest are much better than going to bed on an empty stomach so I hope you find something in the list that works for you. Thanks for the vote up, too :-)

Cloverleaf.

LULU SUE1987 on September 19, 2011:

Great recommendations, thanks.

Kamran! on September 19, 2011:

wow..very useful information, i will try make habit to eat those thing before bed,,vote up! nice stuff

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 18, 2011:

Hi naturalsolutions,

I'm happy this helped you to find some nutritious bedtime snacks. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment.

Cloverleaf.

naturalsolutions on September 18, 2011:

I always eat before i go to my bed but it is mostly a no nutrition benefits foods. Thanks for your hub now i know what to eat during bedtimes.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 18, 2011:

Rtalloni, thanks for the vote up! A few cherries before bedtime really helps to settle me down for the night, sort of a comfort food that's good for you. I appreciate your kind comments.

Tarrka, Yes so important for anyone watching their blood sugar! Sleep soundly and thanks for your vote :-)

Hi blessingsforlife, I really like your idea of sesame seeds and raisins. Much better than trying to sleep on an empty stomach! Have a great day.

Pinkish, I hope you find some options here that will help you to fall asleep better, cherries are very comforting and always work well for me.

Thanks for all your comments,

Cloverleaf

blessingsforlife on September 17, 2011:

Voted up and found useful!

blessingsforlife on September 17, 2011:

I definitely cannot sleep when my stomach is empty. I have to choose carefully the food I eat before bedtime because I could develop acid reflux, so I avoid acidic foods. Warm oatmeal, a little milk, sesame seeds, raisins and brown sugar is my favorite.

But if I am too tired and sleepy to eat, I would just chew 2 tablets of goats milk and I'm off to bed.

tarrka1089 from Ohio on September 17, 2011:

All goods options that also won't raise my blood sugar! [voted up and useful]

RTalloni on September 17, 2011:

So informative, helpful--full of important guidelines but in a concise, direct format. This hub is also generating great comments. Thanks much!

Voted up and bookmarked.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 12, 2011:

chamilj, you're welcome and thanks for stopping by to comment.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 12, 2011:

PegCole, how good of you to visit and comment! I hope you enjoy eating your cherries and have a sound sleep tonight :-)

chamilj from Sri Lanka on August 12, 2011:

Great hub with useful instructions on Bedtime Foods. Thanks!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on August 12, 2011:

The cherries sound really yummy. I had no idea they were a natural remedy for insomnia. Will give this a try. What is strange is that for the first time in a long long time I bought fresh cherries yesterday at the store before I read this great hub. hmmm.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 10, 2011:

Super-foods, I think natural yoghurt with almonds and honey would give you a little bit of everything good!!! Thanks for commenting.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 10, 2011:

Sunshine, thanks for the awesome comment and vote up, I'm so glad you stopped by!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 10, 2011:

Fantastic hub! Very detailed and informative! Late night snacks can cause more harm than good. Great choices of snacks. I'm for the banana or a cheese stick. UP/Awesome!

super-foods on August 08, 2011:

Oatmeal and honey is my favourite. Sometimes I have some natural yoghurt with sliced almonds and honey. Thanks for the great hub.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 06, 2011:

Thanks greatlove, and I appreciate the vote up!

greatlove from Beaufort, NC on August 06, 2011:

Great information....enjoyed your hub. voted up!

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 04, 2011:

Hi caramellatte, eating oatmeal and honey is so comforting isn't it? :-)

caramellatte on August 04, 2011:

I like this hub. I eat all the foods listed except cottage cheese. The texture doesn't do a thing for me. Oatmeal and honey works; I tried it one night and I was so sleepy after wards.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 02, 2011:

Hi Susie, you made me chuckle! Hope you enjoy your banana :-)

SusieQ42 on August 02, 2011:

Great hub with lots of useful info. Think I'll go have a banana!

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 02, 2011:

Hi Hyphenbird, thanks for your comment, hope you're having a great day.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 02, 2011:

Movie Master, I can't believe how much you and I are alike! It's like we're related or something ;-)

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 02, 2011:

Hi moonlake, I love your suggestion of eating a yoghurt to calm the stomach. Low-Fat Activia is my absolute favourite.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on August 02, 2011:

Great ideas. Thank you so much. Hyph

Movie Master from United Kingdom on August 02, 2011:

Hi Cloverleaf, if I eat too much late at night I don't sleep and if I go to bed hungary I don't sleep!

Thank you for your suggestions on finding the right snack for a good night's sleep and it's all things I like:-)

Great hub and voted up.

moonlake from America on August 01, 2011:

I'm up late and usually don't eat at night but do find myself getting cravings once in awhile. Most of the time I eat a cheese stick and have some water. Sometimes a yogurt helps calm my stomach.

Good hub.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 01, 2011:

Hi Tranquilheart, you're absolutely right it's no fun trying to sleep on an empty stomach. I tend to get quite irritable when I'm hungry :-)

Tranquilheart from Canada on August 01, 2011:

Hey ... a hub I can relate to! I usually eat warm oatmeal, cornflakes or Cheerios with milk or soft boiled egg. Some people say it's not good to eat before bedtime but sometimes you just have to, can't sleep on an empty tummy, right? Good suggestions.

Louise Fiolek (author) from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 01, 2011:

@Lyricallo, thank you for stopping by and commenting!

@thougtforce, overeating before bedtime used to prevent me from getting a good night sleep but I found that eating healthy foods and getting the balance right is key. Sleep well tonight!

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on August 01, 2011:

I often feel hungry before going to bed so this hub is very useful! I usually go to bed hungry or end up eating too much:) I will try your suggestions instead. Great hub since it was easy to read and so well put together.

Thanks

Lorna Lorraine from Croydon on August 01, 2011:

very useful hub with good explanations!