A handful of walnuts before bed can help you sleep better at night. Walnuts are packed with nutrients, which can improve sleep, such as melatonin, serotonin, folate, omega-3s, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, and many more!
Walnuts as a night snack promote a good night’s sleep
A great time to eat walnuts is before bed as a late night snack. Walnuts contain compounds which help us sleep better at night.
Most noteworthy, walnuts are excellent dietary sources of melatonin, which is known as the sleep hormone. Melatonin regulates sleep! Walnuts have about 0.35 mcg of melatonin per 100g. Walnut consumption can increase blood melatonin concentrations.
Also, walnuts are among the richest foods in omega-3s. A handful of walnuts provides approximately 2.78 g of omega-3s, which is a higher dose than the recommended daily intake! Omega-3s may improve sleep duration and protect against chronic sleep-deprivation side effects.[4,5]
Furthermore, walnuts have a very low glycemic index of 15. They contain negligible amounts of sugar. Better avoid consuming foods high in sugar or starch close to the bedtime. Sugar-rich foods as a late night snack may affect sleep quality.
Moreover, walnuts are high in fiber. Diets with adequate amounts of fiber could play a key role in the management of sleep disorders. Following a healthy, fiber-rich diet, containing many servings of fruits and vegetables per day, can improve sleep quality.[7,8]
Minerals in walnuts may improve sleep quality
Walnuts are great dietary sources of:
- calcium with 98 mg per 100g, or 10% of the Daily Value (DV)
- iron 2.9 mg, 16% DV
- magnesium 158 mg, 38% DV
- phosphorus 441 mg, 49% DV
- zinc 3.1 mg, 28% DV
- copper 1.6 mg, 178% DV
- manganese 3.4 mg, 148% DV
- potassium 523 mg, 15% DV
Adequate amounts of:
- iron may have a beneficial effect on restless legs syndrome, general sleep disturbances, and sleep disordered breathing. Iron deficiency is associated with sleep disorders.
- zinc also have beneficial effects on sleep quality. Treating zinc deficiency may increase the amount and the quality of sleep in humans. Zinc regulates sleep![10,11]
- copper is also necessary for a good night’s sleep. Copper is another essential micronutrient involved in numerous metabolic reactions. The zinc/copper ratio, in particular, plays a key role in sleep duration in adults. So, you should be cautious before getting high amounts of zinc or copper from supplements.[12,13]
- phosphorous may also have a beneficial effect on sleep duration, sleep quality, and daytime sleepiness.
- magnesium may improve sleep quality as well. It may improve sleep onset latency, early morning awakening, snoring, sleep duration, and daytime falling asleep. Especially in elderly people.[15,16]
- potassium may also improve sleep quality.[17,18]
- calcium may decrease the difficulty of falling asleep. Along with potassium and magnesium, calcium is important for improved sleep.
Other common foods for a good night’s sleep
Above all, you can eat foods high in melatonin, such as cranberries, pistachios, almonds, or apples, as a late night snack. Melatonin plays a key role in improving sleep quality, sleep duration, and sleep onset latency.
Moreover, you should regularly eat beans, such lentils and chickpeas, or drink soy milk for a good night’s sleep. Beans are high in tryptophan, melatonin, and minerals which relax muscles and improve sleep quality and duration!
Avocado is an excellent late night snack as well. It’s packed with compounds which improve sleep quality and duration.
Can walnuts at night make you gain weight?
You should be very cautious with portion sizes, though. Walnuts are high in calories. They have 654 calories per 100g, or 185 calories per serving. Consuming more than 14 walnuts (2 handfuls) before bed can make you fat.
What’s the best time of the day to eat walnuts for weight loss?
Actually, the best time to eat walnuts for weight loss is between meals, on an empty stomach, as a healthy snack. Fiber and protein in walnuts can keep us full for hours. In addition, as walnuts are mainly healthy fat, they don’t spike blood sugar levels. In fact, they could reduce the postprandial glycemic response of a meal.