When those late-night snack cravings hit, it’s hard not to reach for something sweet or salty. From a stash of chocolate to a leftover slice of greasy pizza, junk food seems to start calling as it gets closer to time to go to bed.
Unfortunately, those snacks will throw off your healthy eating habits, and they can actually affect how well you sleep. Unwanted side effects of snacking can include heartburn, indigestion, and even insomnia caused by sugar or caffeine. Is a night of tossing and turning really worth that handful of candy? Probably not.
Instead, why not satisfy your appetite with a freshly-blended smoothie? You may think of smoothies as something you’d usually reserve for breakfast or a midday snack, but you might just want to consider making a bedtime smoothie your newest nightly tradition. As it turns out, a smoothie can be the perfect combination of ingredients for a good night of sleep.
We’ve put together a guide to smoothies for better sleep, including a list of sleep-inducing ingredients and some simple smoothie recipes to try tonight. So, get out your blender and be ready to say goodnight with a good smoothie!
Foods that Can Help You Sleep Better
You might already know that some foods are connected to better sleep, but did you know that many of them can easily fit into a single smoothie? When you incorporate these natural sleep aid ingredients into your bedtime snack, you can fall asleep easier – and enjoy better sleep – with ease.
Many of us have heard about the sleepy effects of eating a big turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, which can be attributed to the high level of tryptophan in turkey. But were you aware that milk also contains tryptophan? That might be why a glass of warm milk is a go-to home remedy for a child that’s struggling to sleep – there’s actual science behind it!
In addition to milk, dairy products such as yogurt can be equally beneficial for better sleep.
Bananas are one of the best foods for sleep, but most people would never think of grabbing a banana before bed. Containing melatonin, magnesium, and serotonin, bananas are a triple threat against insomnia. And if you’re someone with a sweet tooth, the fruity flavor can be a great way to satisfy a craving without resorting to a sugar-laden snack.
A great source of sweetness, honey is a natural sleep aid with a history that stretches across generations. It helps the effective release of melatonin, a naturally produced hormone that helps you fall asleep.
Like milk, flaxseed contains tryptophan, making it easier to fall asleep faster. High levels of omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful in promoting an increase in serotonin, which regulates sleep.
There’s no shortage of benefits to eating almonds, a nutrient-rich nut that boasts plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. They contain magnesium, which may be able to improve the quality of your sleep. For people with insomnia, this boost of magnesium could be especially beneficial.
The natural melatonin in almonds also contributes to better sleep, serving as a great alternative to other supplements. You can easily enjoy the benefits by mixing almond butter into a smoothie or chopping them up to use as a crunchy topping.
Oats are high in carbohydrates and other nutrients that can improve sleep quality. A full stomach can be exactly what you need to get sleepy at bedtime, and oats can offer exactly that. Also, they’re a source of melatonin.
In general, walnuts are an extremely healthy source of nutrients. Plus, they’re packed with healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, and are a solid source of protein. All this means that they’ll keep you feeling full until bedtime, so your appetite won’t wake you up before morning.
In addition, studies have found that walnuts are one of the top foods for melatonin. If you’re planning on having a pre-bedtime smoothie, consider making it a “smoothie bowl.” Add some walnuts and other toppings, grab a spoon, and enjoy!
Smoothie Recipes to Help You Sleep
Now that you have a better idea of foods that promote good sleep, it’s time to blend up some deliciously drowsy smoothies. We’ve picked some of our favorite recipes for smoothies that contain ingredients to help you fall asleep and wake feeling rested and ready for anything.
Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
Peanut butter and bananas are a classic combination, and they can also be a tasty treat that helps with falling asleep.
- 2 bananas
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 cups of ice cubes
Place all of the ingredients in a blender, blending for about 30 seconds or until smooth.
Banana and Nutmeg Smoothie
A touch of nutmeg gives this bedtime smoothie a unique flavor, while the dairy-free almond milk is ideal for those that prefer to avoid regular milk.
- 1 banana
- 1 ½ cups almond milk
- ¼ tablespoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons of honey
Add all ingredients to the blender, then blend until smooth. If desired, add a handful of ice and blend again.
Cherry Pie Smoothie
Usually, dessert right before bedtime is a no-no – but this pie-inspired smoothie can actually serve up your best-ever sleep.
- 1 cup cherries (fresh or frozen), with pits and stems removed
- ½ cup plain yogurt (dairy or dairy-free)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond milk, with up to and additional ⅓ cup as needed
Using a blender, blend all of the ingredients (except the additional almond milk) until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, slowly add more almond milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
Almond and Flax Seed Smoothie
This smoothie recipe has all the sleep-friendly foods you could ever want, and it doesn’t skimp on flavor, either.
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 banana
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed (ground flaxseed is ideal for a smoother consistency)
- ½ cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon honey
Blend all of the above ingredients until smooth, adding some ice if desired.
Tips for Simple Smoothie Prep
On evenings when you’re feeling extra-tired, you might not want to deal with the prep time needed for a bedtime smoothie. But with some tips, you can always have a smoothie recipe ready to go!
- Chop up any fruit, add in other ingredients, and even pour in the milk (or other liquid), then place the contents in individual freezer bags. You’ll have single-serving smoothies ready to throw in the blender anytime.
- If your smoothies seem like they’re turning out too watery, try using frozen bananas instead of ice cubes. Simply slice and freeze ripe bananas, then use what you need each time. As a bonus, this is a great way to avoid throwing out overripe bananas!
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