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Smart snacking can lead to better sleep

Snacking before bedtime could be beneficial to achieving optimal sleep. (Source: CNN) Snacking before bedtime could be beneficial to achieving optimal sleep. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - Don't go to bed with an empty stomach.

Snacking before bedtime could be beneficial to achieving optimal zzzzzs.

But just what should you eat and when?

Those foods need to contain the amino acid tryptophan, the one and the same we associate with turkey and Thanksgiving-induced slumber.

Tryptophan is identified with sleepiness because it is converted to two brain chemicals linked with sleep: melatonin, which regulates your body's sleep cycle and serotonin, which causes relaxation and drowsiness.

But, before you gnaw on that turkey leg,  here are some other high-tryptophan snacks to consider.

Egg whites, low-fat cheese and chicken all fit the bill.

Carbohydrate rich foods like granola, unsweetened cereals and whole-grain crackers are known to boost the production of melatonin and seratonin.

Set your sweet snacking sights on pineapples, oranges and bananas, which are also linked to an increase in melatonin.

Stay away from spicy snacks and snack small.  Avoid big meals at least four to five hours before hitting the sack.

And according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep in 2013,  you shouldn't consume caffeine at least six hours before bedtime.

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