Evening Snack Ideas to Boost Your Sleep Routine
20 April 2021
You’ve tried some, if not all, of the latest recommendations out there:
• Turning the WIFI off before bedtime
• Abstaining from caffeinated drinks past lunchtime
• You wear blue light blocking glasses after 7pm even though your partner laughs at you.
• You’re tucked up smugly in bed by 10.30pm
• The blackout blind is firmly closed
• A white noise machine is purring peacefully in the background
• Ambient temperature is set somewhere between 16°C and 19°C in your bedroom
• Your mattress and pillows hit the perfect spot between soft to firm
• All electronic devices are banned from the bedroom - you’ve even splashed out on a digital alarm clock to avoid relying on your mobile phone
Still, that once familiar undisturbed and blissfully restorative sleep you used to wake from feeling refreshed and ready to hit your day running, is something you can now only ‘dream’ of – pun intended.
You may take some comfort from knowing you’re far from alone. Approximately 35% of the UK population suffer with episodes of insomnia; characterised as either:
• Difficulty going to sleep
• Waking multiple times during the night
• Lying awake in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep
• Still feeling tired on rising in the morning
• Unable to concentrate during the day due to lingering fatigue
• Feeling tired and irritable during the day
So How Much Sleep Do You Need?
On average adults need approximately 7-9 hours sleep each night and although some people claim they need as little as 4 hours sleep, so-called ‘short sleepers’ including the late Margaret Thatcher and Barak Obama only account for approximately 1% of the population who can survive on less sleep and continue to function normally throughout the day without experiencing ill effects.
Worryingly prolonged periods without adequate sleep are associated with conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and High Blood Pressure, so it’s vitally important we try all options possible to achieve adequate slumber.
How Can Bedtime Snacks Help?
Although it’s recommended not to eat heavy meals too close to bedtime and quite rightly so, there are certain nutrients which are known to support restful sleep. Nutrients such as Tryptophan which is found in foods including salmon, poultry, oats, bananas, nuts and seeds, eggs, cheese, dark chocolate and tofu have been shown in studies to support increased sleep efficiency and duration as well as improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Also, the mineral magnesium, often referred to as nature’s sedative, is valued for its ability to support good quality sleep. Magnesium is required for the conversion of tryptophan to the neurotransmitter serotonin which is then converted to melatonin – the hormone which promotes sleep. Magnesium can be sourced from foods such as dark chocolate, bananas, oily fish, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, avocados and legumes (beans).
Here’s a couple of examples of snacks you might like to try around an hour before bedtime to support your levels of both tryptophan and magnesium thus naturally promoting a better night’s sleep:
• 1-2 oatcakes spread with almond butter and thinly sliced banana
• 1-2 oatcakes with a spoonful of cottage cheese and sprinkle of chia seeds
• 1 tbsp hummus and vegetable sticks
• Canned wild salmon mixed with avocado and a side of cucumber slices
• Sliced banana rounds with peanut butter topping
• 2 squares of dark chocolate with a small handful of mixed nuts and seeds
I hope you enjoy these snacks and good luck on your sleep journey!
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