Late-Night Snacks to Help You Sleep

late-night snacks

Do you ever have thoughts of food before you fall asleep? Maybe you’re waiting to fall asleep and you’re thinking about leftovers in the fridge. You are not alone in these thoughts.  Late-night cravings happen to everyone at some time or other.  Ignoring the snack attack doesn’t always work.  A trip to the kitchen is sometimes all that will make the cravings disappear.  But, you still want to get back to sleep, so the last thing you want to do is reach for something that is going to keep you up all night.  You want to have food on hand that will have a soothing effect on you.  You want sleep to come again at some point that night.

Check out this list of some of the best late-night snacks to help you sleep.

Drinking a glass of milk will help you sleep for two reasons.  Milk will satisfy your hunger.  Milk also contains tryptophan which enhances relaxation and will make you drowsy and ready to lay your head back down.  Warm milk will especially trigger that sleepy feeling.  Sip a mug of warm milk and you will be dreaming in no time.

Like milk, turkey contains tryptophan.  If you’ve ever enjoyed a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, you know how a nap after dinner sounds.  Irresistible.  Of course, you don’t have to roast a huge turkey when you want to stock the refrigerator with this sleep-inducer.  You can easily find turkey breasts to roast and have on hand.  Enjoy a few slices of cold turkey for a simple, fast snack, or make a nice sandwich.  Use whole grain bread which is high in complex carbs, which are also part of the formula to make you sleepy.

Choose fruit to snack on in order to maintain your diet, but choose bananas and cherries in particular to help you sleep.  Bananas contain minerals that relax the muscles, as well as tryptophan, just like turkey and milk. Cherries and cherry juice boost the body’s production of melatonin which the body needs to sleep.  If you fill a bowl with bananas and pour a bit of hot milk over, you’ve got a snack that is Mr.   Sandman’s best little helper.

If you want a relaxing treat, you can’t go wrong with a warm bowl of oatmeal.  Because oatmeal is loaded with sleep inducing nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, it only makes sense that this comforting food could also be a valuable midnight snack.  Of course, this is another opportunity to enjoy some warm milk.  With a warm bowl of oatmeal, you have a double dose of sleepy-time snacking.

Although we know alcohol in excess will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, a single glass of wine will relax your body and mind.  For many people, this is the perfect end to a hectic day.  Adding a glass of wine to your evening routine may help you relax enough to let Mr. Sandman do his job.  Remember, too much wine will either keep you awake or cause you to wake in the middle of the night.  Try a mug of mulled wine for the ultimate experience in relaxation.

Just because we have a case of the midnight munchies doesn’t mean that we will be up for hours figuring out what to eat. If we choose the right kind of foods  when the cravings hit, we’ll be able to go to sleep with less effort. Enjoy these sleepy time foods and get back on a normal sleep schedule.

I’ve got a recipe you might want to try the next time you need a late-night snack. Make it ahead of time so that you’ll have it ready when you need it!

Mid-Night Sweet Pumpkin Pudding

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package instant vanilla pudding (sugar free)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cup milk

Whisk together all the ingredients and pour into individual pudding cups or dessert bowls.  Put in refrigerator and chill for at least 2 to 3 hours.
Serve cold. Enjoy!

Do you have any foods you would add to this list?


  1. Tryptophan is the amino acid in some foods that can make one feel drowsy. We most often hear about tryptophan in relation to turkey, which is what causes that sluggish feeling after Thanksgiving dinner. Tryptophan is also found in milk, so having a glass of warm milk before bedtime is an effective way to not only induce sleepiness, but to also make sure your child gets his or her calcium. Since milk and cookies is such a natural pairing, on the weekends, bake some wholesome oatmeal cookies your kids can enjoy with their warm milk. (Bonus: Oatmeal also contains tryptophan, and pairing this amino acid with carbohydrates helps the body absorb the tryptophan more readily.) Or for a really quick snack option, your child may enjoy a small bowl of a whole-grain cereal with milk.

  2. Gene Hayes says:

    My other favourite bedtime snack is a tall glass of soymilk or almond milk, or a mug of extra-strong hot cocoa made with whatever non-dairy milk I have on hand mixed with a couple heaping tablespoons of the darkest cocoa powder I can find. My favourite is cocoa made with coconut milk (the non-dairy beverage kind, not the coconut cream you cook with). I often add a little cayenne pepper, cinnamon and ginger, as well. The spices give a nice little endorphin boost, and they make the cocoa so warm and comforting. Spiced cocoa is like a cozy fire in a mug.

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