Snack Ideas and Tips for Better Sleep

Cancer

Sleep plays a pivotal role in cellular and muscular repair and regulation of hormones that can have an impact on our immune system, how we tackle the next day, and our waistline. There is a lot going on in the world right now and while we can’t control the external events around us, we can take some steps to help resume with our nightly ZZZs.

Serotonin is a chemical that promotes feelings of well-being. Melatonin is a hormone with an antioxidant property. Both of these can help you sleep better.

  • Foods high in tryptophan, like turkey, oats, soybeans, parmesan, and sesame seeds increase levels of serotonin and melatonin.
  • Walnuts, Tart Montgomery cherries, flax seeds, and oats are known to contain the antioxidant melatonin.

Consuming carbohydrates with natural sugars before bed has also been associated with better sleep.

Taking into consideration serotonin, melatonin, and carbohydrates with natural sugars, some good bedtime snacks include:

  • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese or ¼ cup ricotta and flax meal
  • ½ cup oats with tart cherries
  • Small banana in a bowl of milk
  • Whole wheat crackers with sesame butter
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Warm cup of milk with a splash of turmeric for an anti-inflammatory effect
  • Turkey and parmesan roll ups 
  • ½ cup of soybean pods
  • Chamomile tea

Other ideas to promote a better night’s sleep include:

  • Powering down electronics (phone, tablet, laptop) 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime, so that the artificial light from our tech devices doesn’t disturb our circadian rhythm (the innate sleep-wake cycle, effected by light)
  • Tuck into bed with a book or grab a pen to scribble out any nagging thoughts that could seep into your dreams
  • Wearing a sleep mask or using blackout curtains for the ultimate cave-like experience
  • Tuning out distracting noises by either using earplugs or a sound machine
  • Try decreasing the temperature in our bedroom to a cool 60-67⁰F

We hope these tips help and sweet dreams!

References:

Russell, Lori. “11 Ideal Bedtime Snacks for Athletes.” MyFitnessPalBlog 15, Oct. 2020, https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/ideal-bedtime-snacks-for-athletes/

Grotto, D. W. (2007). Walnuts. In 101 foods that could save your life! New York: Bantam Books.


Audrey Caspar-Clark MS, RD, LDN, Doris Piccinin, MS, RD, CDE, CSO, LDN, Carly Roop, RD, CSO, MA, LDN, and Caroline Meehan, RDN, CSOWM, LDN, CDCES are the registered dietitians at the Abramson Cancer Center at Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine who specialize in cancer nutrition and provide information based on sound nutritional therapies to support patients throughout their cancer treatment.

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