According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of American adults say they get less sleep than what’s recommended. Busy bees may quickly boast of how little sleep they need; however, adults are recommended seven hours of sleep nightly, per the CDC. Why is regular rest so hard to come by? It could be stress, health conditions, overloading on high-caffeine drinks or even binge-watching shows that can keep people up at night. Some may view sleep as inferior to healthy eating and exercise, but the truth is, getting sufficient sleep is just as important as other parts of your wellness routine.
According to the CDC, routinely skimping on sound slumber could increase your likelihood of conditions including poor mental health, heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. While multiple factors play a role in catching enough zzz’s, your nutrition is critical. What you snack on may help or hurt your sleep, so stocking up on sleep-promoting snacks is vital. Popular stores like Trader Joe’s offer various snack selections that may support your snoozing.
What to Look For in a Sleep-Friendly Snack
When considering snacks, salty, crunchy or sweet treats may be top of mind. While some people may incorrectly view snacks as stumbling blocks to weight loss, nutrient-rich snacks can help stabilize blood sugars between meals, keep hunger at bay, fill nutrition gaps to support a healthy way of life, and even support your weight-loss goals. What’s more, snacks may also usher you toward a more restorative night’s sleep.
To pick the best snacks for sleep, your safest bet is to shoot for sleep-enhancing nutrients such as melatonin. But try not to opt for just any source of melatonin, but one that carries other essential nutrients for more health benefits. Dietary fiber is a crucial nutrient in helping you stay full, as going to bed with a rumbling stomach could make it hard to fall asleep, so selecting a high-fiber snack may be a good idea. A 2022 review in Cureus discusses chrono-nutrition, a nutrition approach that studies how food intake impacts sleep-wake cycles. Foods best for sleep may be high in protein and antioxidants, and foods with a low glycemic index (a measure of a food’s impact on blood sugar levels) may lead to positive sleep outcomes.
The Best Snack at Trader Joe’s for Better Sleep
Getting better sleep isn’t just about clocking in more hours but also about sleep quality. In other words, your body requires a certain amount of sleep just as much as it needs good, restful sleep. There’s a snack at Trader Joe’s that may help promote a better night’s slumber in your life.
Trader Joe’s Dry Roasted & Salted Pistachios are the No. 1 best snack for sleep at this grocery for many reasons. Here’s why these tasty shelled nibbles top the list.
They’re Mighty in Melatonin
Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone made by your brain. Levels of melatonin increase when you’re in the dark, and one of its primary functions is to control your circadian rhythms, per a 2018 review in BMC Medicine. Plants also carry varying melatonin levels, making foods such as nuts, grains, fruits and cereals sources. According to a 2020 review in Neurologia, the body’s melatonin production slows as you age, which is why eating melatonin-rich food helps maintain healthy levels and ensure good sleep. Pistachios are among the highest melatonin-containing nuts, so consider picking up a bag on your next Trader Joe’s run.
They’re Packed with Plant-Based Protein
Where there’s protein, there are amino acids—the building blocks of protein. Pistachios possess all nine of the essential amino acids, including tryptophan. According to the 2022 review mentioned above, your body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, a hormone known to help with better sleep. Serotonin plays a vital role in your sleep-wake cycle. Further, low tryptophan levels are linked with wakefulness, and you can better meet sufficient levels with pistachios. Through a unique pathway, your body relies on tryptophan to make melatonin, according to a 2020 study in BBA Biomembranes. You’ll find 6 grams of protein in 1/4 cup of unshelled nuts.
They Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Pistachios are a low glycemic index food, so they don’t rapidly spike your blood sugars thanks to their high protein and fiber, and low carb amounts. Some studies have found associations between high-glycemic foods (think white rice and pasta) and poor sleep onset and quality, per the 2022 review. The studies referenced in the review were older; therefore, more studies are needed on how low-glycemic foods may benefit sleep habits. Better blood sugar balance can help prevent diseases of the heart and metabolism. These conditions run rampant in the U.S., so snacking on pistachios as part of a healthy diet can be critical for disease prevention. Who knew bedtime snacks could support your metabolism and sleep?
They Have Ample Antioxidants
Pistachios contain an impressive array of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, phosphorous and calcium, per the USDA. Another reason to nosh on pistachios in your pre-bedtime routine is that they’re chock-full of bioactive compounds with antioxidant functions. Flavonols, isoflavones and anthocyanins are just a few of these antioxidants in pistachios, per a 2021 review in Plants. The real question is, how do antioxidants enhance your sleep schedule?
Studies suggest tart cherries, a food rich in antioxidants, may help reduce oxidative stress and drive anti-inflammatory processes that might improve sleep. Though not specifically studied for sleep, pistachios may also be favorable for more shut-eye. Because sleep and circadian rhythms help regulate markers of inflammation, a lack of sleep may drive inflammation, per a 2020 study in Frontiers in Neurology.
The Bottom Line
Pistachios are nutrient-dense plant-based snacks that offer an outstanding variety of nutrients to support overall health. Between their melatonin, plant-based protein, fiber and antioxidants, they may make an ideal nut to eat every day to support whole health and sleep. And if getting proper sleep has been a doozy, the tasty protein morsels may help get you dozing. Trader Joe’s Dry Roasted & Salted pistachios have a long shelf life and can be enjoyed straight from the bag. If you have a medical need to adhere to a low-salt or low-sodium diet, check your local Trader Joe’s for unsalted pistachio options.