As a musician, I often come home late and hungry. Junk food is tempting when you’re tired, but these delicious snacks are healthy and won’t keep you up. Try them with a sleep-inducing drink like passion fruit tea, herbal tea with honey, or a glass of cherry juice.
Cook quick oatmeal according to the directions on the box, but use calcium-rich milk, which contains the calming compound tryptophan. Honey (more carbohydrates) will boost your oatmeal’s power to calm the orexin cells in your brain, which keep you awake, (“6 Surprising Foods That Put You to Sleep”), and honey helps tryptophan “enter our brains more easily” (“Honey’s Unknown Benefits”).
Add raisins, if desired. Top with a sliced banana-high-carb and rich in potassium and magnesium, which help relax you.
2. Turkey Melt
Place turkey on whole wheat bread and cover with cheese. Toast until cheese melts. Extra hungry? Toast another piece of bread for the top and spread with mustard or mayo.
Breads are high-carb, and the whole wheat helps you feel full. Turkey and calcium-rich cheese contain tryptophan. But choose a softer cheese like Swiss. Harder, aged cheeses contain “high levels of the amino acid tyramine,” which “are known to keep you up” (“10 Foods That Make You Sleepy and 10 That Keep You Up”).
3. Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita
The vitamin B6 in chickpeas helps your body make melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep, and the whole-wheat pita is another sleep-inducing bread.
Try making your own hummus ahead of time:
¼ cup tahini
juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Whirl tahini and lemon juice in food processor until a thick paste forms. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
Heat the pita in the microwave until warm. Tear, dip, and savor.
Duncan, Lindsey. “Honey’s Unknown Benefits.” The Dr. Oz Show. 5 Dec. 2011.
Moody, Colleen. “10 Foods That Make You Sleepy and 10 That Keep You Up.” Good Housekeeping.
Phillips, Bill, and eds. “6 Surprising Foods That Put You to Sleep.” Men’s Health. Yahoo! Health. 18 Mar. 2013.
Saccone, Julie. “Benefits of Calcium Before Bed.” LIVESTRONG.com. 2 Feb. 2014.
Wright, Brierley. “9 Foods to Help You Sleep.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences cited. Eating Well.