Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fresh

8 Evening Snacks That Foster Better Sleep

Eating late at night isn’t always a bad idea. Follow these guidelines to ensure your before-bed bite doesn’t get in the way of a restful night.

1 342
Author Image
Contributing Writer

Most sleep advice suggests not eating dinner too close to bedtime, but what to do you if find your stomach growling when you hit the sheets? While a full meal can keep you up due to indigestion, an energy spike, and even by raising your core body temperature, a light snack may actually be a good thing.

We now know that certain nutrients support dozing off, and often, going to bed hungry can make it hard to get comfortable and fall asleep. If you do forage for late-night nibbles, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your snacking doesn’t cut into sleep.

1. Mind Your Macronutrients

Carbohydrates consumed in the hours before bed reduce the time needed to fall asleep according to one study, especially with high glycemic foods like white rice. In the study, the most impactful result was with carbs eaten four hours before bed but it was also shown that if carbs were eaten one hour prior to bedtime, there was still a modest improvement in sleep quality.

Another study found that high fat diets may negatively impact rest, while other research has shown that special diets in general (low- or high-calorie, high-fat, low-carb, and others) may be associated with worse sleep.

For a good late night snack, aim for a small serving of carbohydrates, possibly with a little protein to keep you sated, but skip excess fat and greasy foods.

2. Keep It Light

Large meals take energy to digest, and some experts suggest that big meals too close to bedtime could contribute to or worsen acid reflux. Eating dinner four to five hours before bed (by 7 p.m. if you sleep at 12 a.m., for example) is generally seen as best, as is not overeating late at night.

If you are planning a before-bed snack, aim to eat about an hour before sleep and keep portion size small. If you’re watching your weight, factor the snack into your overall energy intake. As an example, one cup of cooked rice, one-half cup of cereal, a handful of crackers or one piece of toast represent a snack-size serving between 100 and 200 calories.

3. Make It Mild

Spicy foods are best left for breakfast and lunch, not late dinners or evening snacks. Anecdotally, you might recall a time when spicy foods or peppers led to a little heartburn or indigestion, and anything that affects comfort can affect rest.

One study tested the theory on young men, finding that mustard and Tabasco sauce eaten at dinner resulted in reduced slow wave sleep and longer time needed to fall asleep. One interesting thing they observed was an elevation in body temperature during the first stage of sleep. It’s been established that a drop in temperature precedes drowsiness and that cooler temperatures result in better sleep, leading the researchers to suggest that capsaicin affects sleep via increased body temperature.

Related: Can’t Sleep? 12 Doctor-Approved Solutions

4. Choose Foods That Support Sleep

These eight snacks pair common ingredients that bring sleep-supporting nutrients without anything that might compromise your rest.

Pretzels and Peanut Butter: Pretzels are a lower-calorie, high-glycemic carb that can satisfy hunger and most people find them easy on the stomach. Whole grain versions tend to pack a decent amount of fortified vitamins and minerals, but opt for unsalted when available. Pair with a satisfying partner like unsweetened peanut butter or even cottage cheese.

Rice and Veggies: Microwave leftover (or frozen pre-cooked) jasmine rice with a handful of frozen mixed veggies, or pair it with a little lean protein. Skip the soy sauce (it contains tyramine, which increases alertness) and hot sauce (the spice might cause indigestion), opting for a squeeze of lime or little hummus instead if you need a flavor boost.

Fresh Popcorn: Popcorn is a natural whole grain and a relatively healthy carbohydrate when homemade. Try an easy microwave method or use an inexpensive air popper. Avoid too much salt or butter close to bedtime, but feel free to drizzle on a little coconut oil for its sleep-supporting lauric acid.

Small Sandwich: Use one piece of bread cut in half, or a small flat bread or wrap. Add in a serving of low-sodium turkey or tuna, baby spinach, tomato, a couple pickles, and cheese, if you like. Skip the onions and spicy condiments, though.

Cereal and Milk: A glass of milk is an oft-suggested sleep-inducer, but there isn’t much research to back it up. A serving of low-sugar cereal provides carbs though, which are shown to help sleep. If you don’t do dairy, feel free to swap for an unsweetened nut milk of your choice.

Banana Roll Up: This quick snack has carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Bananas are also rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin B6. All you need is a tortilla, a banana, and some nut butter (almonds and sunflower seeds are both rich in sleep-friendly minerals and melatonin).

Yogurt and Granola: Yogurt is typically high in protein and low in fat, providing a good snack close to bedtime. Just be mindful of the sugar count (some can exceed candy bar levels), and swap for coconut or soy-based if dairy upsets your stomach. Lighter granola or cereal sprinkled on top adds a dose of carbs to keep you sated.

Oatmeal with Flax: Oatmeal is a pretty easy to prepare, and it brings healthy carbs and minerals. Flax seeds offer melatonin and healthy omega-3s, and fruits like blueberries or bananas can add a little sweetness without giving a strong sugar buzz. You can also try savory oatmeal as well, seasoned with a little salt and olive oil.

Related: The Surprising Ways Eating Clean Promotes Better Sleep


Join Sonima’s free 14-day jumpstart to better sleep for a downloadable guide and daily advice from top experts. Learn more here.




Comments (1)

A 3-Day Clean Eating Meal Plan

Reset your diet to feel healthy and energized with Sonima’s free six-page guide designed to keep you satisfied as you cut back on calories, sugar, and processed foods!

Get the Guide

Load More

Find us on Instagram

  • It’s the first full moon in July, which means, in India, it is Guru Purnima. 
This is a special day marked for students and spiritual seekers to pay respects to their teachers. 
Today, we would like to thank our leading contributor in reference to all things yoga, R. Sharath Jois @sharathjoisr 
We are so grateful to have his experience and expertise to share the Ashtanga yoga teachings with all of the dedicated students around the world! 
Om Sri Gurubhyo Namah 🙏🏽
Photo 📸 @ifilmyoga .
#gurupurnima #sharathjois #paramagurusharathjois #sharathjoisusa2019 #guruji 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #celebratelife #grateful
  • Start your week off straight! 
When your posture is off, you’re bringing improper alignment into everything you do. 
Some of the benefits gained by improving the way you stand are: improved digestion, easier breathing, elevated mood, decreased anxiety, and less headaches, not to mention, more efficiency in your workouts. 
Read more about eight unexpected benefits from realigning your posture in the article linked in our bio. .
@egoscue_institute 🙏🏽
#egoscuemethod #neckpain #chronicpainrelief #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #simplefitness #stayhealthy #fitnessvideo #mondaymotivation #mondaymantra #posturecorrection #structuralrealignment
  • Do you want to learn how to let go of emotional baggage and stay guilt-free at every meal—all the way through to dessert? 
Try this simple trick explained in the article linked in our bio! 🥞 .
#foodlover #foodie #foodguilt #foodlove #foodwithfriends #makefriendswithfood 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #yogicdiet #yogadiet #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #balancediet #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #foodlove #lovefood
  • .
It is very normal to feel unmotivated in your practice at times. This question came from a student who has been practicing for 8 years, but now is facing many challenges and finding it difficult to get on the mat. .

The most important thing you can do is reassess your reasons for wanting to do a daily yoga  practice and adapt the practice to fit your needs as you face life’s challenges.
  • Time to hydrate. 
Do you have insomnia? There is a strong possibility that you are not drinking enough water. 
Researchers are beginning to observe a link between chronic dehydration and sleep issues. .

Read more on the subtle signs of dehydration by following the link in our bio. .
#timetohydrate #dehydrationrehydration #dehydrationrelief #drinkmorewater #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #yogicdiet #yogadiet #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #balancediet #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection
#sleepissues #sleepbetter
  • Did you know that a misaligned head and neck can lead to chronic pain? 
Give this active alignment sequence a try to correct your head and neck positioning for good.  It’s time to enjoy living your best pain-free life! .

Watch the video link in our bio for all the secret alignment tips and some simple exercises you can do at home! .

@egoscue_institute 🙏🏽
#egoscuemethod #neckpain #chronicpainrelief #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #simplefitness #stayhealthy #fitnessvideo #mondaymotivation
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!