Tummy grumbling before bedtime? Steer clear of tempting processed foods while finishing up a late-night TV show, and try one of these! They all have 5-HTP, or oxitriptan, a neurotransmitter associated with aiding weight loss and regulating sleep patterns. Note: we’re talking sleepytime snacks here, not meals, so watch the portions!
1. Cherries. Fresh and dried cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body's internal clock to regulate sleep. Researchers who tested tart cherries found that they contain high levels of melatonin. Eat them an hour before bedtime or before a plane trip to help you catch your much-needed and much-deserved beauty rest.
2. Bananas. Bananas are an excellent source of both potassium and magnesium, which are natural muscle relaxants. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin (a neurotransmitter that helps you snooze.)
3. Toast. Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger insulin production, which induces sleep by speeding up the release of tryptophan and serotonin to relax you and send you to sleep. A piece of whole wheat toast is the perfect snack to satisfy your stomach and help you catch some z’s.
4. Oatmeal. Like toast, a bowl of oatmeal will trigger a rise in blood sugar, activating insulin production and the release of sleep-inducing brain chemicals. Oats themselves are also rich in nature’s best sleep aid, melatonin.
5. Warm milk. Like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases serotonin. It's also high in calcium, which also promotes sleep.
Sleep is such an important part of overall health and wellness, and you know you will toss and turn if you go to bed hungry, so choose one of these snacks to quiet a talking tummy. Sweet dreams!