We all know sleep is important, but too few of us actually get enough of it. Relaxation techniques, modern mattresses and soothing sounds can all go a long way in improving sleep, but diet is often overlooked as an impactful factor. Certain gluten-free foods, however, contain nutrients that can make it much easier to fall asleep. Below are five gluten-free bedtime snacks to enjoy for a better night’s sleep.
Bananas hold a ton of magnesium, the mineral partially responsible for stress-relief, relaxation and sleepiness. In fact, one medium banana typically contains 32 grams of magnesium, nearly four times the amount in a carrot or apple. Try spreading some almond butter on a banana to fill up while reaping some sleep benefits before bed.
Walnuts help produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for feeling tired or awake. Eating a handful of walnuts or other tree nuts can reset your internal clock and improve your sleep/wake cycle. Try them in granola and yogurt or on their own, toasted with salt or honey for a delicious and nutritious bedtime snack.
3. String cheese
Like nuts, cheese supports the production of melatonin. Its calcium helps the brain partner with sleep-promoting tryptophan to create the sleepy time hormone. String cheese, in particular, provides the perfect serving size to fill you without causing sleep disruptions like indigestion. Opt for a low-fat cheddar or fat-free mozzarella for a healthy, but still tasty, option.
4. Sweet potato
The complex carbs and potassium in sweet potatoes promote sleep while relaxing your muscles. Most of the beneficial nutrients are in the skins of the potato, however, so make sure you’re including them in your bedtime snack. Baked into chips, or sauteed into a tasty hash, there are a lot of healthy ways to enjoy sweet potatoes before climbing into bed to reap their sleep benefits.
Oatmeal contains grains that naturally raise blood sugar levels while making you feel relaxed and sleepy. Just make sure the oats you’re using are raw. Many popular pre-packaged oatmeal brands are processed near glutinous products and may be contaminated. Instead, use gluten-free oats to be sure you’re safe. Consider adding in some fresh fruit and chopped almonds for more taste and an added nutrient boost, or try Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Oatmeal, which contains walnuts for an added sleep benefit.