Processed food manufacturers get that not being able to sleep sucks a lot. And to save you from another night of awfulness, they’ve created the ultimate solution: the NightFood Nutrition Bar, an optimized bedtime snack designed to satisfy your hunger (or more accurately, your urge to gnaw on something, since you likely only ate dinner a few hours ago) and, with the help of a sleep-friendly mineral blend, help you snooze more soundly.
NightFood Bar’s makers say that their snack is low in sugar, since sugar steals sleep. But the first ingredient is brown rice syrup (a.k.a. added sugar), and it only goes downhill from there. A quick look at the label shows fractionated palm kernel oil, soy protein “nuggets” (made from soy protein isolate), and soy lecithin. In other words, nothing humans need to eat prior to bedtime. Or anytime, really.
Still, just because the NightFood Bar is a joke doesn’t mean there aren’t other foods out there that could help you get a better night’s rest. Here, five clean picks that promote sounder, more satisfying sleep—minus the weird ingredients.
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1. Mozzarella cheese
You know that turkey is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that prompts your body to produce more of the feel-good chemical serotonin, which ultimately helps you chill out and doze off. But ounce for ounce, mozzarella cheese packs nearly twice as much tryptophan as the lean protein. Who knew, right?
Are you even surprised? One recent study found that getting 600mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day helped subjects sleep nearly an hour longer and wake up seven fewer times throughout the night.
Have some wild salmon for dinner, or if you don’t do fish, popping an omega-3 supplement is just as good.
A handful delivers almost 20% of your daily magnesium, which can relax your muscles and help you feel calmer, so your mind isn’t racing when your head hits the pillow. They’re a decent source of tryptophan, too. So you know, double whammy!
Have you heard that cherries are a good source of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin? Of course you have.
But oatmeal’s got the stuff, too. And since it’s loaded with carbs that’ll make you feel sleepy anyway, you might be conked out before you even finish eating a bowlful.
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The starchy fruits are rich in magnesium as well as potassium, another potent muscle relaxer. Plus, like mozzarella and almonds, they deliver plenty of grog-promoting tryptophan. Best of all, they satisfy that near-universal urge to eat something sweet before bed—so you aren’t tempted to chow down on, like, a NightFood Bar.