Let's face it, most late night nibbles are just as much about cravings as they are hunger – which makes striking the balance between hitting the spot and avoiding sleep-disrupting snacks tricky.


While eating before bed may not be an issue for everyone, those with digestive issues, such as reflux, or who are trying to manage their weight, it's best to stick to lighter options when eating late.

Try to choose food free from stimulants like sugar and caffeine. For a sleep supportive boost, consider including foods with nutrients like tryptophan, magnesium and B vitamins, which support the body's natural sleep processes. Read on for treats packed with said nutrients, sure to satisfy cravings and send you off to the land of nod...

Healthy late-night snacks

1. Instant frozen berry yogurt

Healthy frozen berry yogurt

It's a catch 22 – we get late night sugar cravings, but sugar releases energy into the body which can keep us awake longer. This naturally sweetened instant frozen berry yogurt could be the solution. The combination of fibre from the berries and protein in the yogurt help to slow down the release of sugar, preventing an energy spike. Yogurt also provides calcium which studies have linked to better sleep, as it is required to produce melatonin, the body's sleep hormone.

2. Quick banana ice cream

Quick banana ice cream

Why not try this creamy banana ice cream for your next movie night? Not only do the banana and milk provide tryptophan to support the body's production of its sleep hormone, but without additional sugar and fat, it's a much healthier ice cream option.

More like this

3. Almond butter

Almond butter on malt loaf

Almonds not only provide melatonin to support sleep, but are rich in healthy fats, vitamin E and magnesium. If you're struggling with sleep, eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods. This mineral not only helps to convert the amino acid tryptophan into the body's sleep hormone, but also helps it to release GABA – a neurotransmitter that contributes to calming your nervous system.Try some almond butter spread on a slice of wholemeal toast or apple slices.

4. Blueberry & banana smoothie

Blueberry & banana power smoothie in two glasses

If you like to workout, then enjoying something protein-rich – like this smoothie – before bed can support muscle recovery and repair. Plus, the tofu and banana provide tryptophan which is required to make both serotonin and melatonin to support a restful sleep. For more protein-rich snack ideas, check out our recipe collection.

5. Chinese-spiced seed mix

Chinese-spiced seed mix

Seeds make a healthy snack at any time of day, but come bedtime, they offer some more advantages. Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan and provide 37 per cent of your recommended daily magnesium allowance in a serving. Sunflower seeds offer calcium which supports sleep hormone production.

Next time you're craving something moreish and savoury, why not try this seed mix?

6. Healthy baked oats

Two bowls of baked oats topped with yogurt and blueberries

Oats are a great source of tryptophan and protein. Here, they're combined with yogurt to make mini baked oat pots, which make a great snack as they're fibre-rich, so will fill you up without leaving you feeling too heavy before bed.

7. Pesto egg muffin bites

Pesto egg muffin bites

If you want to sleep well, it's best to avoid too much sugar before bed, so swap the sweet snacks for these savoury muffin bites. They're made with eggs, which are high in tryptophan – just make sure you go easy on the cheese.

8. Pear & peanut crunch

Pear & peanut crunch

Fancy something wholesome and not too sweet? Liven up crispbreads with fresh pear and peanut butter to make this moreish snack. Peanuts are another great source of protein and tryptophan, while pears are packed with fibre.

Enjoyed this? Check out more...

5 tips to improve your sleep hygiene
How to get a good night's sleep
10 foods to boost your brain power

What is your favourite late night snack? Leave a comment below…

This page was refreshed on 23 April 2024.


All health content on goodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post