Optimize Your Sleep Quality with a Dietitian’s Recommendations on the Essential Nutrients to Incorporate in Your Bedtime Snack

There’s nothing quite so reassuring as getting eight hours of quality rest each night, not to mention its incredible benefits for health – from energy levels and gut microbiome health benefits, all the way down to overall quality of sleep and quantity. While nutrition plays a vital role when considering ways to increase our Z’s.

Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD and co-author of Sugar Shock has found a correlation between healthy eating patterns and restful night’s rest and an improvement in sleep quality; we know both what and when we eat have an impactful on this area; therefore being strategic with evening meal decisions to enhance restfulness rather than fatigue is of the utmost importance for improving overall restfulness and improving your quality of sleep. According to Cassetty there are three nutrients which aid better restful nights: fiber, magnesium and melatonin are key.

Sleep quality depends upon consuming essential nutrients for good night’s rest. Here are three that could improve it significantly

  1. Fiber
    Before turning to supplements for sleep aid, check the produce section: Plant foods contain all the building blocks for healthier sleep, according to Cassetty. His recommendation suggests that when 75 percent of your plate consists of plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains and pulses you are well on your way towards better restful rest largely thanks to fiber’s anti-diarrheal benefits and ability to help protect heart disease as well as increasing sleep quality.

Cassetty asserts that fiber has been shown to contribute to less sleep disturbance and enhanced efficiency; that means more time actually sleeping instead of tossing and turning! One noteworthy study examined the relationship between Mediterranean Diet–rich in fiber–and sleeping quality; researchers discovered the more closely participants followed it, the higher their likelihood was of high-quality restful restful slumber was. She recommends 25 to 38 grams daily as an ideal goal but advises slowly increasing consumption gradually for best results while drinking plenty of fluids at same time! Cassetti suggests 25 to 38 grams daily as an ideal goal but advises gradually increasing gradually gradually so as to prevent GI distress as well as drinking plenty of fluids every time possible while increasing fiber intake gradually for maximum potential success!

  1. Magnesium
    Magnesium is another crucial ingredient to sleep that works to ease both mind and body to prepare them for restful restful slumber. Cassetty notes how magnesium acts along similar neurochemical pathways as anti-anxiety drugs to ease tension in your mind so you can switch over into rest mode more easily.

Magnesium can be found in many plant foods, from nuts to seeds to whole grains to pulses to leafy greens – even dark chocolate contains magnesium! Unfortunately, only half of adults in the US receive enough daily magnesium in their diet, potentially having serious consequences on health in several ways. “According to one 20-year study that examined magnesium intake and quality of sleep among young adults, high magnesium consumption was found to correlate positively with improved parameters,” reports Cassetty. People with higher magnesium intakes spent more time sleeping each night and were significantly less likely to fall below 7 hours per night, than their counterparts who consumed lesser magnesium quantities. Low magnesium levels have also been associated with mood disorders which negatively impacted sleep as well as overall well-being.

  1. Melatonin Melatonin may be synonymous with sleep for many of us; but did you know you don’t need a pill for an effective dose of it? Your body naturally makes its own supply, which works to regulate day and night, helping your mind settle down when levels rise resulting in you becoming sleepy. Cassetty suggests that our bodies naturally produce melatonin, but diet may provide additional support in increasing its production. Many plant foods provide melatonin for our bodies to produce sleep-inducing levels of melatonin; one study reported that people who consumed more veggies than average had 16 percent higher urine melatonin concentration levels – providing ample proof that eating vegetables provided meaningful increases to this essential sleep inducer.” Melatonin can be found in several foods like walnuts, tart cherries, grapes, tomatoes and oatmeal – these being prime examples!

Dietitian Tips for Eating Before Bed (Including When to Eat it) Before planning out your ideal bedtime snack, first ask yourself this important question. According to Cassetty, whether a bedtime snack is required is subjective based on individual circumstances. As with anything, falling asleep when starving or overeating can be challenging and the quality of sleep will likely suffer as a result. Instead, aim for that ideal level of contentment when approaching sleep – this means leaving 10-12 hours between your previous meal and breakfast to allow time for digesting it all before sleeping! Cassetty suggests that “an overnight fasting period works to sync up with your circadian rhythm – your body’s internal clock.” Cassetty emphasizes how this helps promote better sleep by giving an opportunity for your circadian rhythm to adjust itself – helping regulate your sleeping-wake cycle more smoothly and aiding better REM cycles. Eating too close to bedtime may cause acid reflux which disrupts both restful slumber as well as overall discomfort.

Three perfectly designed evening snacks packed with the key three nutrients for restful slumber
Cassetty recommends these simple recipes containing fiber, magnesium and melatonin as tasty combinations that can satisfy your hunger without making you too full – perfect as pre-bedtime nibbles and nutritional dessert options alike!

Slice open a banana, sprinkle some cinnamon over it, and top with an ounce of walnuts for a delicious bedtime snack with sleep benefits! A banana provides approximately two grams of fiber and 32 milligrams of magnesium; when coupled with walnuts this duo adds another two grams of fiber and 44 milligrams of magnesium, providing 18% of your daily magnesium requirements – or check out my delicious vegan banana split recipe which also works perfectly!

Kiwi + Oats
Prepare one quarter cup of old-fashioned oatmeal using boiling water and mix in one teaspoon of chia seeds for optimal sleep quality. This combination provides seven grams of fiber and 15 percent of your daily magnesium requirement – it even helped one study find that snacking on two kiwis before bedtime led to 35 extra minutes of shuteye! Kiwi fruit’s serotonin levels convert easily to melatonin production!

Chia Baked Oatmeal Is Sure to Induce Sleep: Enjoy it Before Bed!

Cherry-Chia Cobbler
Tart cherry juice is an excellent source of melatonin. When combined with fiber-rich chia seeds and sweet frozen cherries to balance tartness while providing fiber, as well as lower-sugar granola for additional magnesium intake, tart cherry juice provides 22 percent of daily magnesium needs and 25 percent fiber requirements! Microwave half cup frozen cherries for 30 seconds to one minute before mixing with tart cherry juice (quarter cup is preferred) and two tablespoons chia seeds; allow to set before refrigerating or standing until set before topping with lower-sugar granola! Incorporating tart cherry juice provides 22 percent magnesium needs while meeting 25 percent fiber requirements!

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