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What bedtime snacks will promote good sleep?

Are you a person who likes to have a bedtime snack before you hit the sack? Or are you the type who can't sleep if there's food in your belly? In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams explores the link between nutrition and a good night's sleep.

Woman sleeping
Get a good night's sleep by avoiding the wrong bedtime snacks
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ROCHESTER — Popcorn, hot chocolate or maybe a little ice cream. Do those treats sound like tasty bedtime snacks? Some people can eat anything they want before bed and still get a good night's sleep. But research shows that what you eat is linked to the quality of your sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) notes that good eating habits equal good sleeping habits. Their website has information and tips on foods and drinks to avoid before bed and which ones to try.

Bedtime snacks to avoid:

  • High fat or high protein: Digestions slows while you sleep and these foods take time to digest. Eating high fat or high protein foods may make you feel too full.
  • Spicy foods: Foods and drinks that are spicy may give you heartburn.
  • Caffeine: Consuming caffeine too close to bedtime may prevent you from falling asleep or disrupt your sleep during the night.
  • Alcohol: When a nightcap wears off, you might become alert and have a hard time falling or staying asleep.

Bedtime snacks to try:

  • Easily digestible foods: Complex carbohydrates in foods such as oatmeal or whole wheat toast are easy to digest.
  • Focus on daily healthy eating habits: The NSF notes that a high-fiber diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat proteins will boost overall health and promote good sleep. You might also consider eating foods rich in vitamin B, as this vitamin may help regulate melatonin. Think fish, lean poultry and meat, legumes, eggs and dairy.

And what about warm milk? An article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health analyzed a bunch of studies and concludes that low-fat milk and dairy products promote good sleep when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

MORE HEALTH FUSION:
When arctic blasts plummet temperatures, stepping outside can be dangerous. In this Health Fusion episode, Viv Williams talks to a researcher about what intensely cold air could do to anyone's lungs.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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