MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Are you not getting enough sleep and looking for something other than pills to help you get some rest at night?

Experts say instead of sleep aids, try snacking on some healthy foods before bed that promote a deep sleep. The foods were recently chosen by Matthew Kadey, a registered dietician for Shape Magazine.

The first food he recommends is fat-free popcorn. The carbohydrates in popcorn help bring the amino acid tryptophan into your brain, where it is used to make serotonin. Serotonin is sleep inducing.

Because eating a heavy meal within two hours of bedtime can keep you awake, low-calorie popcorn is a great late-night snack.

What about Halibut? It’s packed with two building blocks for better sleep: tryptophan and vitamin B6. Halibut also has a mild flavor and meaty texture that appeals to finicky seafood eaters.

Tryptophan is that ingredient in turkey that makes us all tired after eating Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s not just in turkey. Other items high in tryptophan include beef, soybeans, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts and eggs.

Another food to help with sleep is dried tart cherries. A handful of dried cherries not only provides the serotonin-boosting carbs, it’s also one of few food sources of melatonin. Melatonin has been found to promote better sleep and lessen the effects of jet lag.

Plus, tart cherries are packed with age-fighting antioxidants.

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