For most people, it’s not uncommon to have a bite to eat or something to drink before bed. This could be a matter of trying to stay hydrated or psychological comfort, but not all bedtime drinks are created equal; such a habit can help or hurt your efforts to stay healthy. Certainly, it may not seem like a big deal at a time, especially if you do not have more than a glass, but even a cup every night adds up over time, so be careful about what you take in just before bed and really, any other time.
Sleep itself, of course, is very critical; A lack of it can throw off your equilibrium, damaging health in many ways. Poor sleep may result in issues with focus and memory, but may also be associated with long-term effects such as hormonal changes, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels, and weight gain. These long-term factors can compound and contribute to serious health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Generally, a drink before bed is thought to promote sleep, and some beverages certainly do, while others do just the opposite. Caffeinated or sugary beverages are a good example.
When it comes to bedtime beverages, you’re going to want something that satisfies, certainly, but also helps you keep on track for your weight goals, or otherwise contributes positively to your health. Milk, for example, has been popular before bed beverage for a long time. While milk my advance your dietary success, Alcohol, another popular bedtime beverage, will have the opposite effect. While a poor choice harms one’s health, an ideal drink will keep you sated, put you to sleep, and provide valuable nutrients for repairing and improving your body. Here are some beverages to consider for your nightcap.
As mentioned earlier, milk is a tried and true bedtime beverage. Though it’s usually taken warm to soothe the body, even a cool glass of milk has benefits. Milk is loaded with calcium and proteins which lead to the development of strong bones and muscles. Milk also has a compound called tryptophan, which can help put you to sleep. Additionally, the fat content in milk can help you feel sated, preventing cravings for midnight snacks, and reducing the odds of overeating the following morning. All in all, milk contributes to nights of better sleep and a stronger, more fortified body.
Have you heard of kefir? It has a long history in Eastern Europe. Traditionally, it is a mixture of fermented goat milk and grains. What makes kefir an awesome beverage, especially for bedtime, is its rich nutritional benefit. Like yogurt, kefir has a significant level of probiotics, or healthy bacteria, that help diversify and balance out your gut flora. A healthy gut means effective digestion, which can lead to better sleep at night on account of a settled stomach, and also resulting in better nutrition overall, and therefore, better health. In addition to sleep, kefir may also increase exercise performance.
6. Grapefruit Juice
If you can get past the sweet and bitter one-two punch, grapefruit juice is another solid option. Studies have indicated that a regular intake of grapefruit juice can contribute to burning fat and weight loss- this is especially true in the case of high-fat diets. Losing weight and burning fat can bot indirectly contribute to heart health, as obesity can have a negative effect on it, while excess fat can lead to cholesterol problems that might result in clogged arteries. Furthermore, Grapefruit juice can also help limber up the arteries, reducing blood pressure, further contributing to a healthier circulatory system.
5. Banana Smoothie
You’re probably aware that bananas are a healthy food, well known for their potassium content. However, were you aware of the fact that potassium (and magnesium, also found in bananas) helps with sleep? Because of the role potassium plays in relaxing the muscles, proper levels of potassium can help you get to bed sooner and stay asleep longer. Research has indicated that those with a potassium deficit may have a more difficult time staying asleep compared to those who get enough potassium. Mix a banana with almond butter, along with milk or almond milk for this bedtime treat.
4. Chamomile Tea
It’s not uncommon to lay back and relax with a hot cup of tea; when it’s time for bed, though, make sure that you’re opting for a caffeine-free variety—otherwise, you may find yourself awake all night. Chamomile tea’s a good choice of bedtime tea for many reasons. The hot to cool action from sipping on a hot beverage helps get you nice and sleepy; this is further enhanced by the synthesis of glycine, which is also spurred on by the tea. Glycine, a sedative, can help you to relax by calming your nerves, literally and figuratively.Related: How to Use Half a Lemon Daily to Lose Weight
3. Soy Drinks
Great news for vegans and vegetarians. Soy drinks are another great source of tryptophan. This is the case whether we’re talking about a protein smoothie or soymilk. As mentioned earlier, this can help with sleep. However, soy is also loaded with another sleep-inducing hormone known as melatonin. Soy drinks are also a great source of protein, which can promote muscle repair and growth—this rejuvenating effect can be boosted in many ways with the right ingredients. The tryptophan can also help to soothe away stress, decreasing the likelihood of comfort snacking, and sending you straight to bed instead.
2. (Tart) Cherry Juice
At first glance, this particular beverage may not sound all that appetizing, especially right before bed. However, tart cherry juice contains melatonin. Therefore, if you’re having trouble keeping your sleep/wake cycle on track, cherry juice can help make that happen. Furthermore, it helps the body use tryptophan better, so you could say that all around, cherry juice can get you to bed. However, it’s important that the cherry juice is tart- added sugars could leave you feeling wired, ultimately preventing sleep, and contributing to weight gain. Conversely, antioxidants in cherry juice fend off conditions that may lead to gaining weight.
1. Grape Juice
Grape juice may also help get you to sleep at night. Like cherry juice, it contains levels of melatonin, though this may vary depending on the type of grapes. For the best results, you’ll want to have 100% grape juice, not from concentrate, and if possible, try to select a variety with no added sugar- you don’t want to be up all night. When it comes to general health, grapes also contain resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant that affects the body’s fat stores by converting white fat into brown fat, which burns calories more readily as opposed to storing them.
What NOT to Drink
Seeing grape juice on the list may get you excited about the idea of a glass of red wine before bed. After all, wine also includes grapes, and therefore, antioxidants like resveratrol. However, you’ll want to avoid drinking wine before bed; while in small doses, red wine has appeared to be helpful for heart health, as well as burning fat, the alcohol content can cause problems in excess, and when it comes to bedtime, alcohol may help you get to sleep, but the quality of that sleep will be severely diminished. Stick to grape juice when it’s time for bed.
All in all, if you’re looking to get a good night’s rest, you have a lot of options- drinks that can help you get to sleep. If you play your cards right, you can also pick up some great nutrition and other benefits that boost your health. Keep in mind that just because something is healthy, that does not mean that you can eat or drink it at any time. In many cases, when and how much you eat or drink matters more than what you’re eating. That’s especially true when it comes to certain drinks and getting to sleep.