So you know that better sleep is important for better health, right? In fact, studies show that if you sleep more, you’re likely to weigh less. Getting your zzz’s is key to being fit. So choose your “midnight snacks” wisely:
Turkey: That business about needing a nap after Thanksgiving dinner is legit. Tryptophan, found in turkey, chicken and fish, is converted into niacin in the body. Niacin in turn helps produce seratonin, which is associated with sleep and melatonin levels. But for it to work, you need….
Whole Grains: The carbohydrates cause your body to release insulin, which sweeps away all amino acids but tryptophan, so it can get busy helping to produce seratonin. A slice of plain turkey on a slice of whole-wheat bread is looking pretty good right now, isn’t it?
Yogurt: Not only does it have tryptophan, but it also contains calcium, which is a stress-soother. Add some whole grains in the form of a sugar-free, organic, non-GMO cereal and voila! Better sleep.
A Banana: Our favorite. It’s loaded with potassium and magnesium, which relax sore muscles. It delivers a dose of that miracle worker tryptophan. And it’s light and sweet, meaning the digestive process won’t keep you awake. Slice one into that yogurt-cereal parfait!
Herbal Tea: Skip the green and black—caffeine is your enemy at this hour. Choose chamomile (soothing) or peppermint (aids digestion). But if you’re hungry, fix a small snack, too, pairing petite portions of lean protein, calcium and whole grains. A rumbly tummy can interfere with sleep as well.
Just don’t tuck into a full meal shortly before you tuck yourself in. If your body is working hard to digest, it’s impossible to relax. Plan to have dinner around four hours before you want to turn in. And tune in next week when we list what NOT to eat before bedtime for better sleep!