4 Expert-Approved Bedtime Snacks That Can Enhance Sleep

4 Expert-Approved Bedtime Snacks That Can Enhance Sleep

It is well after dark. Your stomach is rumbling. Here the challenge you have is to figure out what you can consume quickly. Also, it needs to be tasty and not lead you to pack on pounds.

Even scientific evidence is suggesting the eating too late at night would make it difficult for you to control your weight. Now if you are hungry, then a small and nutrient-filled snack, especially one that is under 200 calories would be great for the night. Do you know that some of the snacks would even be having compounds that can make you fall asleep better?

Snacks for Great Slumber

Here not many people are aware that snacks fall into two major categories. One that would induce you to sleep and the other one provides the energy like walkers and sleepers. The best bedtime snack would have tryptophan, which is an amino acid that would assist your body to make serotonin. This is a chemical that would help in the sleep process.

A great sleep helps you to relax, and especially one that involves sleeping at night. Here the sleep at night would make you feel more relaxed and provide your body with the required energy to recharge for the morning activities.

Additionally, when you sleep at night, your brain is getting recharged and is in sleep mode. Hence, it would gain the required rest for being active for life. This means that the brain and body would get a good rest as soon as you get a good night’s sleep.

Keep in mind that a healthy bedtime snack would contain complex carbohydrates and even some amount of calcium and protein. Doctors and physicians recommend that your midnight snack should contain:

  • Seafood, poultry, and meat.
  • Low-fat cheese or milk.
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Whole grains like a bowl of cereal with skim milk.
  • Yogurt along with granola that is sprinkled on top.
  • A peanut butter sandwich.
  • A sliced apple with one ounce of cheese.

Low-Calorie Bedtime Snacks

Are you trying to drop some extra pounds? Well, that will not mean that you can’t enjoy some healthy bedtime snacks. Just sip a steaming mug of decaffeinated herbal tea. Here the rich aroma along with the warm liquid would easily lull you to deep sleep in no time.

Well, you could try making some dishes or use the 100-calorie food items like –

  • Two cups of carrots.
  • One cup of sliced bananas and fresh raspberries.
  • 5 rye of pumpernickel crackers.
  • 3-1/2 cups of air-popped popcorn.
  • 2 tablespoons full of peanuts.
  • ½ cup of cottage cheese with good five strawberries.
  • 2 domino-sized slices of low-fat cheddar cheese.
  • Half a medium of cantaloupe.
  • One hard-boiled egg with a slice of Melba toast.
  • Four slices of ham along with honey mustard and that too wrapped on the lettuce leaves.
  • 29 pistachios
  • ½ mini bagels along with one ounce of smoked salmon.

Great Bedtime Snacks for Sports People

As the time between dinner and breakfast can be a long time to go without food, a bedtime snack helps to maintain tissue growth and repair for those people who are working out a lot.

You might be on a weight-training program and working to burn fat and increase muscle mass. In that case, a healthy bedtime snack may be just the ticket.

However, be cautious. Just do not turn that bedtime snack into a meal. Stick to a recommendation of 100-calorie snacks consisting of fibre and protein.

Some bodybuilders consume a lot of protein shakes that include carbohydrates and fibre before going to bed. You do have the option to buy a variety of protein shakes or create your own.

Go easy on the shakes. Sometimes you would rely too heavily on protein shakes to replace regular meals. In that case, you will miss out on the nutritional benefits of whole foods.

If muscle mass is your major goal, adding more protein to your bedtime snack may be helpful, if you balance your protein intake with complex carbohydrates.

What Bedtime Snacks and Beverages To Skip?

Sometimes you need to stay away from snacks that are high in sugar. They would make your blood sugar levels fluctuate a lot. Make sure to avoid spicy foods as that would lead to heartburn and even avoid any kind of restful sleep.

Even you need to avoid drinking beverages containing caffeine or alcohol. Both can disturb your rest by waking you up every few hours during the night. Hence, it would be helpful, if you balance your protein intake with complex carbohydrates.

How Can Your Dinner Help You to Sleep Better?

Having a healthy meal at dinner that fills you up will prepare you for a night of rest. Here the best dinner choices include proteins like a chicken or tuna salad sandwich on whole-grain bread, seafood and pasta, or scrambled eggs with parsley or stir-fried veggies.

Such type of dishes is all high in protein along with a tiny content of complex carbohydrates. That would aid in relaxation and get you ready for sleep.

How Calorie-Conscious Are You?

The major secret of weight loss is not a huge secret at all. Here it means limiting the number of calories you consume each day. That would help you to lose weight. Of course, calorie-counting can be tedious; having a basic knowledge of which foods will send you into a diet trap is easy.

Consuming Food Before Bed and Digestion

Of course, our bodies are indeed perfectly capable of doing two things at once sleeping and digesting. In this case of hitting the sack right after the feasting is not ideal for many people because of the way the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is set up.

Between the stomach and the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach) is a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter. Here this valve would remain open, thereby allowing the contents present in the digestive and stomach juices to flow back up right into the esophagus and lead to irritation.

Here the unpleasant burning sensation would be present on your chest and throat. That is called gastroesophageal reflux (i.e., acid reflux or heartburn). It would be triggered through few things consisting of lying down and eating. So, in other words, here the scenario is just before you consume the food before food.

In other words, exactly the scenario when you eat before bed. When you lie horizontally with a full stomach you would lose the effect of gravity that helps to keep the contents of the stomach down.

Another risk of night-time eating is dyspepsia, more commonly known as indigestion or an upset stomach. This is a set of symptoms—like stomach pain, nausea, getting uncomfortably full or full very quickly, and upper abdomen bloating or burning that can commonly be triggered by eating quickly; overeating; eating food that is fatty, greasy, or spicy; or drinking too many caffeinated, alcoholic, or carbonated beverages.

Just as with heartburn, mild or occasional indigestion is usually nothing to worry about. If it lasts longer than two weeks or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is a good idea to see a doctor who can help you figure out if you have an underlying digestive issue such as gastritis, or functional dyspepsia, which is chronic and has no underlying cause.

However, whether you do have chronic or occasional acid reflux and indigestion. Eating a huge meal just before going to bed and would worsen the current symptoms. Also, keep in mind the size and contents of your night-time snack or meal if you experience either of these issues. Bigger meals take longer to digest than light snacks.

Experts say that fuller your stomach. The longer it takes to break it all down, and the more likely it is you will experience GERD or dyspepsia. Some kinds of foods also take longer to digest than others, like anything high in fibre or fat. Spicy and acidic foods can also aggravate acid reflux and indigestion, per the NIDDK.

Hence in general, for your tummy’s sake, the ideal night-time snack is one that is smaller, milder, lower in fat and fibre, and eat a couple of hours before bed. Of course, if making these changes is not helping, see your doctor because there are other lifestyle modifications and medications available.

4 Expert-Approved Bedtime Snacks

1) Banana with Almond Butter

Here you need to add one small banana dipped into a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter. This would be very tasty and having 165 calorie pairing would help you to sleep. Research done on healthy men shows that more than a 4-fold increase in melatonin blood levels within two hours of eating two bananas.

Frankly, bananas are one of the selected fruits having relatively rich in the nerve messenger serotonin, some of which your body converts to melatonin. Additionally, almonds and almond butter supply some melatonin as well. Plus, they are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium.

Magnesium is linked to good sleep, since it may support your body’s production of melatonin.

2) Tart Cherries

Have you consider adding tart cherries like Montmorency or their juice to your late-night snack options. Selected studies suggest that they may help you sleep better. What is more, they have anti-inflammatory benefits and may offer protection against inflammation-related conditions like arthritis and heart disease.

In a recent study, a small group of older women having insomnia drank 8 ounces (240 ml) of 100% tart cherry juice or a placebo drink at breakfast and 1–2 hours before bedtime.

After two weeks, an on-site sleep test showed that those drinking cherry juice slept nearly one and a half hours more at night, compared to the placebo group. Also, tart cherries would contain the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, but only a relatively small amount.

However, they also contain the phytochemical procyanidin B-2, thought to protect the amino acid tryptophan in your blood, which can be used to make melatonin. An 8-ounce (240-ml) glass of 100% tart cherry juice or one-third cup (40 grams) of dried tart cherries has around 140 calories.

3) Pistachios

Well, the pistachios stand out among other nuts for their high levels of sleep-promoting melatonin. Though all plant foods are thought to naturally contain this substance, few have as much as pistachios.

One ounce of shelled pistachios, which is about a handful, has 160 calories and about 6.5 mg of melatonin. For comparison, the amount of melatonin typically recommended aiding sleep is 0.5–5 mg.

4) Protein Smoothie

Consuming a protein-rich snack before bed could support muscle repair and help slow down age-related muscle loss, particularly if you exercise routinely. Well, smoothies are an easy and tasty way to sneak in protein-rich milk before bed.

For example, take a blend of eight ounces of low-fat milk with 2/3 cups (110 grams) of frozen pineapple for a tropical treat with only around 160 calories. More than that, milk is rich in tryptophan. Your body uses this amino acid to make both serotonin and melatonin, which aid sleep. Pineapple has been found to boost melatonin levels as well.


If you are truly hungry late at night rather than just bored or stressed, eating a snack under 200 calories should not tip the scales.

Whole, minimally processed foods like berries, kiwis, goji berries, edamame, pistachios, oatmeal, plain yogurt, and eggs make easy, tasty, and healthy late-night snacks. Many of these foods even contain sleep-supportive compounds, including tryptophan, serotonin, melatonin, magnesium, and calcium.

The most important thing is to keep healthy snacks on hand that you enjoy. You will be less tempted to run to the convenience store or hit the nearest fast-food drive-through for an unhealthy, high-calorie snack before bed.

Go ahead and try these bedtime snacks and have a great sleep. Keep in mind that you would need to consult with your doctor before you go ahead and try out the bedtime snacks. At times, the consultation can provide you with various means of other alternative snacks that you can have.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.