Late-night grazing is practically a way of life for some of us — we pick at leftovers from dinner, raid the cupboards, or stare into the fridge until inspiration strikes. It’s not necessarily due to hunger, but boredom, force of habit, and the cravings brought on by feeling tired. The trouble is, it can disrupt your sleep.
The late-night munchies themselves aren’t the problem — it’s what you’re eating that can keep you awake. So what should you be snacking on that, instead of making you lie there tossing and turning, will allow you to wake up feeling well-rested?
1) Toast with peanut butter
Nuts contain high levels of niacin, which is a nutrient that encourages the release of hormones that help you drift off. Try putting a bit on some whole grain toast.
2) Hummus with raw vegetables
Hummus is full of Vitamin B6, which is vital for the production of melatonin, a hormone that forms a key part of the sleep cycle. The dipping possibilities are also endless here!
3) Cereal and milk
It’s not just for breakfast! Avoid the sugary stuff, as it will keep you awake, and instead go for whole grain cereal that is full of the kind of carbohydrates you need to send you off to sleep. The milk is also great as it contains tryptophan, a nutrient that makes you feel tired.
Very light and easy to digest, so it won’t disrupt your sleep, home-popped popcorn is really easy to make in a saucepan and is much healthier than the shop-bought variety.
Yoghurt is full of calcium, which can help you to drift off. You could also add berries, which contain B6 to help kick off your sleep cycle.
6) Cheese and crackers
Anything you might have heard about cheese giving you nightmares is a myth! In fact, like milk, cheese contains tryptophan, which makes you drowsy. Don’t eat too much, though, as protein is harder to digest than carbohydrate.
7) A banana
Bananas contain yet more of that sleep-inducing tryptophan, as well as nutrients like potassium and magnesium, which can help relax your muscles.
A slightly more pricey but very effective late-night snack — rather than just helping your body to produce it, cherries naturally contain melatonin, the hormone that helps you to go to sleep.
Perhaps one for around Christmas time, but this is a great source of tryptophan — it’s not just all that festive excitement that makes you want to go for a nap after dinner!
If you’re more someone who goes for a bedtime drink as opposed to a snack, decaffeinated milky tea or green tea is the way to go! Flavours like chamomile or jasmine are good for making you feel calm, and some shops even do a special bedtime blend!