We’ve all been there. Digging through the fridge in the early hours hoping for some kind of leftovers to relieve your midnight munchies. However, the ingredients in what you choose to snack on can heavily affect your quality of sleep. Anything caffeinated, alcoholic, overly fatty, spicy or sugary could keep you up long past midnight. For this reason, the Sleep Matters Club have collated a list of five sleep-approved midnight snack recipes that not only settle your cravings, but help you drift off to the land of nod.
1. Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas
Bananas are great for a late night bite because they contain the natural muscle relaxants magnesium and potassium which promote a good night’s rest. They are also a natural source of melatonin, a hormone released from the pineal gland which induces sleepiness. Combining bananas with cinnamon is beneficial because cinnamon helps balance blood sugar levels, so hormones can function and you can easily doze off.
Simply slice up a couple of bananas, place in a bowl and combine 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg. Fry together in a large pan with olive oil for roughly 3 minutes on each side until the bananas are warm and soft.
2. High Fibre Cereal with Milk
High Fibre Cereals, such as All-Bran, Ready Brek, or Shredded Wheat contain what the experts call good and complex carbs that will steady your blood sugar levels. Even better, the accompanying milk has its own sleep promoting powers as it contains the amino acid Tryptophan, which induces a sleepy sensation. Although you may be peckish, resist the temptation to have a huge portion and opt for half a bowl of cereal to leave you feeling satisfied without struggling to digest.
3. Turkey and Brie Sandwich
If you’ve ever felt drowsy after Christmas dinner, it could be due to the mass amount you’ve digested, or the sleep inducing qualities of turkey. Like milk, turkey contains tryptophan that can help you doze off. In addition to this, the British Cheese Study claims cheese commonly creates positive dreams, after testing cheese-eating sleepers the majority claimed positive results from consuming cheese before sleeping. For an extra tasty turkey and brie sandwich, simply toast the bread and add a little apple jam to one of the slices for further flavour.
4. Sweet Potato Chips
Sweet potatoes also seem to have magical qualities when it comes to sleep. Not only do they possess sleep promoting complex carbohydrates and count towards one of our five a day, but they also contain the muscle relaxant potassium.
For this healthy alternative to chips, simply wash, peel and cut a couple of sweet potatoes into chip sizes. Season with salt, pepper and a little paprika and then once drizzled with olive oil, oven bake for roughly 35 minutes.
5. Cherry Yoghurt
Like bananas, cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin, and consequently help you to drift off. A study by Louisiana State University in the US, found that drinking tart cherry juice resulted in improvements to sleep duration and quality in insomniac adults.
To make this dreamy dessert, just blend a pack of frozen cherries until relatively smooth and add one tablespoon of sugar, a quarter teaspoon of almond extract and roughly a cup of low fat vanilla yoghurt.
What’s your favourite night-time nibble? Let us know in the comments!