5 Healthy Foods to Send You into Slumber

Every once in a while, no matter how many sheep we count, we still can’t seem to drift off to dreamland.

While you may have heard that eating a late-night snack will automatically lead to weight gain, this is not necessarily the case. Put simply — unless that snack sends your daily calorie intake over the number of calories you’ve burned that day, you don’t need to worry about satisfying your rumbly tummy before bed with a small, healthy bite.

That said, here are 5 bedtime snacks that will help you fall asleep— the natural way (and one surprising pre-bedtime favorite that’s sure to keep you tossing and turning):

  1. Sweet Potato Toast — Sweet potatoes are a great source of both potassium (natural muscle-relaxant) and magnesium. Magnesium helps decrease cortisol levels — also known as the “stress hormone” — in the body and helps you unwind, giving you that sleepy feeling after a long day.
    Prepare it: Try our recipe for Six-Ingredient Sweet Potato Avocado Toasties or just sprinkle with some sea salt and enjoy!
  2. Pistachios — Don’t underestimate the petite pistachio! By packing in protein, vitamin B6 and magnesium, these little nuts become the perfect way to end your day. Dr. Jaclyn London, R.D., Good Housekeeping Institute’s Nutrition Director, warns not to eat more than a handful. “Anything too high in calories can have the reverse effect of keeping you awake!”
  3. Oatmeal — Think again before brushing it off as a breakfast food. “The grains in oatmeal trigger insulin production…” says Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC. “They raise your blood sugar naturally and make you feel sleepy. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep.” Sprinkle a little nutmeg over top for an extra boost of flavor and sleep-inducing properties!
  4. Cherries — Speaking of melatonin, cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain the chemical, known for regulating our bodies’ internal clocks.
  5. Almonds — Just a handful of almonds will have you snoozing in no time. According to Pasquella, almonds contain tryptophan and magnesium. These both help to naturally reduce muscle and nerve function while also steadying your heart rhythm.

As for the surprising favorite that negatively affects our sleep schedule:

It’s alcohol. Although a depressant, alcohol actually prevents you from entering deep sleep, making you feel sluggish during the day. At Hilliard Studio Method, we sure do love our joie de vivre (also known as wine). Just be sure to have your nightly glass at least three hours before crawling into bed. Doing this will leave enough time for the alcohol to leave your system!

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