Some nights, dinner just doesn’t do it, and you need a little extra food to make it through the night. The bedtime snack gets a bad reputation: It’s constantly blamed for sleeplessness and weight gain. But there are some snacks that will not only stop your stomach from growling but might also help you sleep better through the night. Here are some foods to try the next time your belly won’t let you get to bed:
Cherries contain a sizable portion of carbohydrates (about 24 grams per cup), and they’re one of the only natural sources of melatonin—a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle.
Reach for the whole-grain crackers before you get tempted by the lures of chips and cookies. These healthy crackers are high and carbohydrates and a good source of vitamin B, which may help prevent insomnia.
Almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a natural source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. One tablespoon of almond butter also offers up a substantial dose of magnesium, which has been linked to insomnia and muscle cramps when deficient. Like almonds, walnuts have a few properties that may promote better sleep too, including their high content of melatonin and healthy fats.
Kiwis are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, both of which can improve sleep quality when consumed around bedtime.
Popcorn is the ideal late-night food, satisfying both your heart’s wants and your body’s needs. The carbohydrates in popcorn stimulate the release of insulin, which has been proven to help control your circadian clock.
If you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, soup can be a great choice of bedtime snack for numerous reasons. To start, warm liquids are inherently calming (think: a delicious cup of tea before cuddling up under the covers). Additionally, its liquid condition makes most soups easy on the digestive system.
And what NOT to eat? Steer clear of snacks high in sugar (that can make your blood sugar fluctuate), spicy foods (that may cause heartburn), and caffeine and alcohol.
More research is necessary to conclude the specific role that foods have in promoting sleep, but their effects that are known so far are encouraging. Next time your stomach is rumbling late at night, don’t ignore it until the wee hours of the morning. Instead, try out one of the delicious snacks on this list.