Cheese before bed may help you sleep better at night due to its high protein, calcium and tryptophan content. Eat cheese with foods high in fiber and melatonin at dinner for a good night’s sleep.
Benefits of eating cheese at night
Actually, reasonable amounts of certain cheeses may have beneficial effects on sleep.
Firstly, cheese supports a good night’s sleep because it has moderate amounts of protein. In fact, most cheeses have between 8 and 36 grams of protein per 100g. A diet high in protein has been linked to a better sleep quality. Especially, dinner must have some protein.
Also, eating cheese before bed may improve sleep quality, as most cheeses are good dietary sources of calcium.
Calcium regulates sleep. It relaxes the body, and improves sleep onset.
Moreover, cheese is high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is necessary for the biosynthesis of serotonin. Serotonin supports a good night’s sleep! This neurotransmitter relaxes the body and controls sleep cycle.
The recommended daily intake of tryptophan is about 250-425 mg. As many foods are high in tryptophan, most people consume more than 900 mg of tryptophan a day.
(mg per 100g)
(mg per serving)
All types of cheese are high in tryptophan. Parmesan is among the richest cheeses in tryptophan, providing 19% of the Daily Value per serving. Actually, most cheeses provide more tryptophan per slice than 12% of the recommended daily intake!
What’s the healthiest cheese to eat before bed for a good night’s sleep?
However, only a few cheeses are healthy. Actually, most cheeses are high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Hence, we should eat small amounts before bed in order to improve sleep quality and duration.
The healthiest cheeses to eat at night is cottage and ricotta cheese. They have the lowest calorie, saturated fat, and sodium content.
You can eat 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese at dinner. This amount provides about 12% of the Daily Value of tryptophan with only a few calories.
How to eat cheese at night for better sleep?
Above all, you should eat cheese with a salad, a slice of whole grain bread or any other fiber-rich food.
Fiber prevents overeating. It expands in the stomach and slows digestion. In fact, meals high in both fiber and protein are very filling. So, eating cheese with fiber-rich foods makes us feel full a couple of hours before bed.
On the other hand, not regulating hunger can lead to late night cravings for fattening food. Overeating at night can cause poor sleep quality as well as obesity!
In addition, fiber supports a good night’s sleep.
On the contrary, eating cheese with other fattening foods at dinner can cause a restless sleep.
In addition, we should eat cheese with melatonin-rich foods at dinner. Melatonin regulates sleep! One of the richest foods in melatonin is Merlot wine, which goes well with cheese.
Also, you could eat cheese with walnuts at night. Walnuts before bed may also improve sleep quality. Walnuts are packed with many compounds that are involved in sleep, such as melatonin, serotonin, magnesium, and zinc.
Most noteworthy, walnuts are among the few foods containing omega-3s. Omega-3s may improve sleep duration and protect against chronic sleep-deprivation side effects. Among others, omega-3s are involved in the body’s production and regulation of serotonin.[6,7,8]
How long before bed should I eat cheese?
As a rule of thumb, we should eat cheese at least a couple of hours before bed. Having dinner right before bed substantially increases the risk of gaining weight. Also, it can have detrimental effects on sleep onset, quality and duration.
The myth of eating cheese before bed
It used to be a popular belief that eating cheese at night can give you nightmares. This isn’t true, though. It’s just a myth.
But, it’s important to have a light dinner. A dinner with not easily digested, high-calorie foods could affect sleep quality and even cause vivid dreams.