This article was updated on July 16, 2021.
For a week, I ate straight peanut butter right before I went to bed, and the effect it had on me was pretty amazing. I had expected it to keep me a little less hungry throughout the night. It definitely did that. But, it also had an effect on my body that truly surprised me.
Eating peanut butter before bed really did help to improve my sleep
I am probably one of those people who don’t get enough sleep.
That is until I discovered how beneficial eating peanut butter can be. I woke up feeling more well-rested, refreshed, and less hungry in the morning than before.
Peanut butter contains many nutrients that help your body recover from the day. It helps rebuild your muscles and provides long-lasting energy to keep your body satisfied throughout the night and might even reduce your morning cravings.
And, peanut butter has a natural sleep-inducing chemical, too.
“Peanuts contains tryptophan, the same amino acid that’s in turkey — and we all know how tired we are after that big Thanksgiving dinner”, wrote The List.
“If you’re worried that peanut butter is too caloric of a snack to enjoy before bed, keep in mind that indulging in this filling treat may mean that once your head hits that pillow, you will be done eating for the night, and you may even find yourself craving a smaller breakfast the following morning,” The List added.
It’s because peanut butter is a dense food. It contains more calories than other foods, but your body will use those calories for nighttime energy for long periods of time.
The tasty treat also increases thermogenesis in the body, which kickstarts your metabolism due to the energy required to digest peanut butter. When eaten before bed, this helps your body to burn calories throughout the night.
And, Healthline says tryptophan gets converted into a molecule called 5-HTP, which is used to make serotonin and melatonin, two chemicals responsible for lulling us into sleep.
“Serotonin impacts every part of your body, from your emotions to your motor skills. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer,” Healthline said. The chemical also reduces depression and regulates anxiety.
No wonder I felt more well-rested during the week.
Put some peanut butter on whole wheat to get the added sleep-inducing kick of carbohydrates.
Many peanut butter products contain sugar. Resist buying sugary versions of peanut butter and, whenever possible, opt for natural versions without added ingredients.
“A good rule of thumb for choosing a healthy peanut butter is to look for one with the fewest ingredients,” says Healthline.
“Less healthy products may contain added sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which offer extra calories and potentially adverse health effects,” they added.
Look at the ingredients list on the side of peanut butter containers for all-natural options that mainly contain dry roasted peanuts and some salt.