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How to Sleep Your Way to a Healthy Weight

June 05, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST.

It’s fairly common knowledge that poor sleep leads to grumpiness, but it is also closely tied to some health conditions:

  • Heart issues including heart disease, attacks, failure and irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure and stroke
  • Diabetes and other blood sugar and insulin issues
  • Impaired attention/alertness/memory
  • Lower sex drive
  • Depression symptoms
  • Signs of aging: sallow skin, fine lines and dark circles/puffiness under eyes
  • Weight gain

If you’re interested in obtaining a better night’s sleep without medicine or supplements, there are some other options. Sometimes, what you eat or drink right before bed can directly impact your sleep. You may already know caffeine and sugar consumed too closely before bedtime can prevent you from sleeping, but there are actually other nutrients that can help you build muscle, improve blood-sugar constancy and burn fat.

Here’s several bedtime snack and beverage options that actually help you lose weight while you sleep:

Tea- This may be a no-brainer for some people, as chamomile tea has been used as a sleep aid for centuries. In fact, chamomile, peppermint, lavender and valerian are all great options, but valerian actually has some sedative properties. On the other hand, chamomile actually raises your body temperature, so your body has to cool itself down, which in turn calms you. Chamomile is also linked to weight loss, as are many types of tea. Just make sure you’re choosing a caffeine-free tea!

Milk- Another beverage commonly used as a sleep aid, especially for young children, milk can help improve your quality of sleep. It doesn’t even have to be warm, as your grandma insisted! Milk is a great sleep aid due to its calcium and tryptophan- yes, the same chemical in turkey that supposedly makes you dozy after Thanksgiving dinner. Additionally, Milk’s casein protein breaks down slowly, which helps build muscle. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed adults who ate or drank about 12 oz. of milk per day, lost an average of 12 pounds at the end of a two-year study. On the other end, people who drank a half glass of milk or less per day lost 7 pounds in two years. Higher levels of vitamin D are also linked to weight loss.

Banana- A surprising source of that magical sleep-inducing chemical, tryptophan, bananas are also fairly low-calorie, averaging about 100 calories. In addition, tryptophan decreases your cortisol levels, which helps fight belly fat. Bananas are also full of amino acid to put you to sleep, and satiating fiber to prevent late-night cravings and keep you full until morning.

Cherries- Not only will cherries help fill you up right before bed, they are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Some people trust in melatonin so much, they take melatonin supplements, but as with most vitamins, some doctors agree they are often better sourced directly from foods. You can eat a bowl of cherry or drink a glass of cherry juice: A study in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed adults who drank tart cherry juice reported improved sleep quality and duration. Additionally, cherries and cherry juice are full of antioxidants, which fight inflammation and assist in weight loss.

Peanut Butter Toast- Another source of tryptophan and amino acids that help lull you to sleep, peanut butter also contains plant-based protein to help you build muscle. Whole grain toast help you absorb all of those vitamins, and its fiber keeps you full through the night. Fiber also aids your digestive tract, decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes, combats the chances of heart disease and obesity. Peanut butter contains healthy monounsaturated fats to help keep you full and break down belly fat, while keeping muscle breakdown at bay.