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What are the best foods to eat before going to sleep?

It’s not uncommon to be lying in bed, about to go to sleep, when suddenly hunger strikes. You then spend ten minutes arguing with yourself as to whether or not you should just go to sleep, or listen to your body and give in to the signs. 

We’ve heard it all before, though – don’t eat for at least 3 hours before going to sleep. So does that mean going to bed starving is a better solution? Well, no. But if you do choose to have a snack before bed, choose wisely, and choose something that could actually promote sleep and won’t cause you to consume unnecessary calories. . 

So, what should you be eating before bed? Below is a list of foods that make for the perfect midnight snack. 

Nuts, particularly almonds

Magnesium has long been associated with promoting sleep due to its ability to reduce inflammation and also reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which may have an impact on the quality of our sleep. 

Almonds are a great source of magnesium, as well as being a healthy protein-rich snack containing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

Fruit, including bananas and cherries

While bananas are often considered to be energy-boosting foods, they do contain natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium, as well as being carbs, which also make you sleepy. Triple win!

Cherries on the other hand are one of the few natural sources of the sleep-aiding hormone, melatonin. One study found that the consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate was able to help those affected by insomnia. 


Tryptophan is an amino acid known to increase the production of the melatonin, which, as mentioned above, promotes a good sleep. 

Both turkey and milk are known to have high levels of tryptophan and with milk already having high amounts of calcium and melatonin, the Tryptophan helps to further 

Whole carbs

The thought of munching on choc chip cookies before bed does sound appealing, however while carbs before bed can be beneficial, it’s the good kind you need to be consuming. Think sweet potato or oats, both high in carbs which induces drowsiness caused by the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. While carbs don’t actually contain Tryptophan, they do make tryptophan more available to the brain. 

So, next time you’re considering a late-night snack, instead of reaching for the sugar-fueled snacks, instead remember that the best bedtime snack is one containing both good carbs and protein such has cereal and milk.   

About the writer Carly Bass is a Sydney-based freelance lifestyle journalist with experience in both print and digital media. Before freelancing, she spent her time as a beauty editor for That’s Life and a health writer for Who – two of Australia’s largest weekly magazines – but also has experience writing travel, TV, entertainment and general lifestyle.  You can view some of her work at   Connect with her on Instagram @carlyjadebass, or on email

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