We all know that sleep plays an integral part in our health, beauty and wellness regimes, but did you know your snacking habits can have an influence over the health of your sleeping patterns? We spoke to nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns who shared her top 5 vegan snacks for helping you get a good night’s sleep…
Oats make a great bedtime snack. They provide slow-releasing carbohydrates, which help keep your blood sugar stable overnight. And that’s not all: oats are classed in herbal medicine as a ‘nervine’ – a substance that helps calm the nerves – making them your perfect sleep companion! Try a small bowl of oat-based muesli with Nairn’s Gluten-Free Oat Muesli [£2.00, Sainsbury’s] as a sleep-boosting snack.
Like pumpkin seeds, buckwheat is a great source of magnesium for calming and relaxing the muscles and the mind helping you to wind down from a hectic day. Try Clearspring’s Buckwheat & Chia Brown Rice Chips [£1.49, Ocado] for an easy and tasty way to get your buckwheat in snack form.
Sour or ‘tart’ cherries contain small amounts of melatonin – the natural chemical that helps bring on sleep. Don’t go for the standard sweet cherries, as they won’t have the same benefits: look for dried sour cherries to snack on. Have a few with some nuts or seeds before bed, or mix with your natural yoghurt.
Eating some sweet potato with your evening meal can help keep up that drip-feed of energy over the night, and help with melatonin production. Sweet potato can be a better option than white potato, as it tends to release energy more slowly, while still being a good source of carbohydrates. And stick to a moderate portion such as one medium potato, especially if you’re watching your weight.
Kukicha twig tea
To encourage better sleep, minimise your caffeine intake after midday. If you love your green tea, try switching to Kukicha twig tea in the afternoon; it’s made from twigs and stems of the tea bush rather than the leaves, and is much lower in caffeine. Try Clearspring’s Organic Japanese Kukicha (RRP £3.59, www.clearspring.co.uk).