September 14, 2016

Getting into the Fall Routine, Part 2 – Focus on Sleep

Shutterstock Fall Sleep DogBy Kate Moore RDN, LDN

This is Part 2 of a two-part blog series. Click here to read Part 1.

In part 1 of this blog, I discussed ways to get a healthy night’s sleep. This blog focuses on setting a bedtime eating routine.

Meals consumed before bed impact the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. This in turn impacts the release of the growth hormones important for the repair of bone, skin and muscle cells.

If you MUST eat late at night avoid snacks high in sugar or refined/simple carbohydrates to avoid highs and lows in blood sugar. The drop in blood sugar causes the release of hormones that trigger you to be more awake. Choose complex carbohydrate and protein food choices that are easy to digest:

  • whole grain cracker + cottage cheese + tomato slice
  • brown rice + chicken + spinach
  • whole grain bread + ham + cheese + kale

Here are some other foods that may help with a good night’s rest:

  • Cherries are naturally high in melatonin (sleep inducing hormone).
  • Fish is rich in tryptophan (a natural sedative, fish has more tryptophan than the infamous turkey). Shrimp, cod, tuna and halibut are said to have the highest levels.
  • Bananas, almonds and spinach (not necessarily together) are high in potassium and magnesium, minerals that promote muscle relaxation.
  • Dark chocolate – the key word there is dark – contains serotonin (body and mind relaxer). As a bonus, the darker the chocolate, the more the antioxidants.

Kate Moore is a registered and licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and Wellness Coach with Mission Health MyHealthyLife Wellness. 

Resources: HuffingtonPost,, Riskology,