How to Hack Optimal Sleeping with Melatonin Boosting Snacks
5 min read

How to Hack Optimal Sleeping with Melatonin Boosting Snacks

Tossing and turning after a late night snack? We’ve all been there. Almost everyone has had the experience of craving a late night snack or a snack before bed. Late night snacking can sometimes make falling asleep, and staying asleep, more difficult, if we aren’t consciously choosing the right snacks or foods before bed.  If the snacks we’re reaching for are loaded with sugars, caffeine, or saturated fats- they could be sabotaging our sleep.  Here at Nature’s Garden, we offer a variety of snacks that contain heart-healthy fats and snacks that are high in magnesium which lead to better, more restful sleep. You can check out some of our many options here. Now let’s dive into all things sleep and nutritious snacking!

Why is Sleep Important?

Sleep is one of the most crucial parts of our lives, and it is necessary for maintaining our overall health. It works to repair and restore our bodies that have been active throughout the day, and without the right amount of sleep, we do not properly recover from the stressors on our bodies of the day.  Dr. Michael Roizen, in conversation with the Cleveland Health Clinic said, “if you think about your body’s function as a massive game of dominoes, you can see how it plays out. When you don’t get enough sleep, you feel fatigued. When you feel fatigued, your body wants to raise energy levels, so it reaches for the fastest solution: sugar. When you reach for sugar, you gobble up stacks of cookies. And when you do that day after day after day, you gain a lot of weight.” Not to mention other issues that coincide with this ‘domino effect.’

Foods can help you maintain good, healthy sleep.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietician with the Cleveland Health Clinic notes, “Try to consume foods that calm the body, increase serotonin levels and get you ready for restful sleep.”  Our diets and the food, we consume directly relate to serotonin levels, our vitamin and mineral intake, as well as other factors, that all influence our sleep.

What Snacks Help Us Sleep Better?

There is no one magic food that we can eat daily to induce drowsiness or promise us a better night’s sleep, but there are a few options that can help.  A study that was documented by the National Library of Medicine found that eating high-fiber, low-saturated-fat meals leads to deeper, more restorative sleep.  A few suggested foods and beverages that aid in a healthy sleep cycle are:

  • Tart cherries are one of the only natural sources of melatonin.
  • Almonds are good sources of magnesium which helps us relax and get better quality sleep, while also containing tryptophan which is an amino acid that functions as a precursor to melatonin.
  • Bananas are rich in magnesium and potassium which can help relax our muscles while promoting sleep. They also contain tryptophan.
  • Oats are another source of melatonin-boosting nutrients like magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. A small bowl of oatmeal made with milk or water can do the trick in helping fulfill late night cravings while being beneficial for sleep.
  • Dairy Products contain tryptophan and calcium. This pairing helps the brain utilize tryptophan to produce melatonin.
  • Leafy greens are rich in magnesium, helping our muscles relax and promote overall sleep.
  • Herbal teas also are known for their calming properties, mainly chamomile, passionflower, lavender, and valerian root.

How does late-night snacking can affect our sleep cycles?

Late night snacking in general isn’t always the best decision, but ultimately, we get cravings, or can have difficulty falling asleep when overly hungry.  Our sleep-wake cycle is controlled by through the hypothalamus function in the brain, while our peripheral clocks are in the liver and pancreas for example. These work to control things like blood sugar, hormone secretion, digestion and more.  Dr. Josna Adusumilli, a neurologist and sleep medicine physician of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital says, “If you eat at a time that's contradictory to your circadian system, it throws off the peripheral clocks.” When these metabolic processes are interrupted, they directly affect our sleep process, our cycle of being awake, and the overall rhythm of our bodies.

It's important to be conscious of late-night snacking.

Late-night snacking is inevitably something that we all fall victim to at one point or another, but that doesn’t mean that it has to have a negative effect on our health and sleep patterns.  Next time you need some snack ideas or solutions, check out our wide variety of snacks here, or check out the list of sleepy-time snacks above!

Why is sleep important for our overall health?

Sleep is crucial for repairing and restoring our bodies after daily activities, ensuring proper recovery and overall well-being.

How do late-night snacks affect our sleep cycles?

Late-night snacking can disrupt our circadian rhythms and metabolic processes, impacting our ability to fall and stay asleep.

What are some snacks that can help us sleep better?

Foods like tart cherries, almonds, bananas, oats, dairy products, leafy greens, and herbal teas contain nutrients that promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
Michael Padovani
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