As a kid, I definitely remember falling asleep quickly after having a light night snack of a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk. But although it might sound a little weird, is it true? Does peanut butter help you sleep? As far as the science goes, it looks like the answer is yes — peanut butter may, in fact, make you sleepy, thereby helping you get a better night's rest. Who knew, right?
In fact, there are many foods you probably eat on a regular basis that have the potential to help you sleep better. According to YouBeauty Nutrition Advisor Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D, who spoke to the Huffington Post, the reason peanut butter and certain other foods make you tired is because of the tryptophan present in them. Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts to serotonin and melatonin, slowing us down and making us crave a nap. As Kirkpatrick explains, this amino acid is the culprit behind why we all feel so tired after eating Thanksgiving dinner: It's most known for being present in turkey, though it's actually in many other foods, as well. Other foods containing tryptophan include nuts, tofu, bananas, honey, and eggs. And, of course, peanut butter.
In fact, an ideal night-time snack is actually a peanut butter sandwich or peanut butter toast, because you're combining the protein from the peanut butter with carbs from the bread. Kirkpatrick suggests using whole wheat crackers with your peanut butter, as the complex carbs are generally healthier for your body. As the Sleep Foundation explains, the presence of the carbs is pretty key: Carbs actually work to make Tryptophan more accessible to the brain. Proteins are basically the "building blocks" of Tryptophan, so combining the two makes for the ideal bed-time snack. You could also switch it up by having cereal and milk, cheese with crackers, or a banana and nuts. It's also important to note that not only do these foods have protein, carbs, and Tryptophan, but they're also lacking in alcohol, excess sugar, and caffeine — all foods that can seriously mess with your sleep.
Of course, it's important to keep in mind that this food trick won't necessarily work on everyone. If you suffer from chronic sleep issues, eating peanut butter or turkey before bed might not do the trick for you. That said, though, it's always worth experimenting with new options and seeing what works best for you personally. Why not give it a shot? At the very least, it'll be delicious.