You’re getting ready for bed when your stomach begins to growl. It’s been hours since dinner and breakfast is many more hours away. You think about grabbing a late-night snack that’s going to tide you over until dawn, but then feel guilty about consuming a few extra calories. Don’t feel guilty; studies have shown that eating a snack before bed may help you to sleep better, That’s not a pass to reach for the ice cream or chips; you need to choose a snack that’s small, simple and healthy. The following are recipes that you can make quickly and easily using ingredients that are likely already on hand (and you can even share them if you’re feeling generous).
Peanut butter and crackers
We’ve all heard about the evils of carbs, but a little can go a long way to keeping you satisfied overnight. A few crackers with a dab of peanut butter have helped many pregnant women with morning sickness prevention by absorbing stomach acid and keeping blood sugar levels more stable. Even if you’re not pregnant, having something on your stomach to absorb extra acid will help avoid a late-night attack of acid reflux. And if you’re allergic to nuts, you can always use yogurt or cheese instead of peanut butter to liven up your snack with a bit of protein.
Milk and cereal
A common home remedy for insomnia is a glass of warm milk to help you drift off to dreamland. The key here is the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan , which exists in milk regardless of temperature. Stick with a cereal that is low and sugar and contains whole grains. Don’t fret if you are lactose intolerant; bananas also contain high levels of tryptophan, so if you slice one up over your soy (or almond) milk and cereal you should still be good to go.
Perhaps no food (other than the aforementioned warm milk) is more associated with educing dozing than turkey. Scientists once again point to tryptophan as one of the reasons why we all get so sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. You can replicate this effect on a smaller scale by making a sandwich with lean roasted turkey and whole wheat bread. Just steer clear of the spicy toppings like hot mustard to avoid heartburn.
If you choose the right foods, a light snack before bed can help calm your body and let you sleep better. And with just a little preparation, your late-night snack can be both nutritious and delicious. Sweet dreams!