Eat This Type Of Cheese Before Bed To Fall Asleep In Record Time

A midnight snack can be the cherry on top of a perfect day. Depending on what you choose, however, that snack can make all the difference between a restorative night's sleep and endless hours of tossing and turning. If cheese is your favorite nighttime indulgence, you've chosen wisely. Munching on a few slices of cheese before bedtime may help your head hit the pillow in no time.

So few of us are getting a consistent 8 hours of shut-eye nightly, with some of us getting as little as 5 hours of sleep or less. Therefore, we need all the help we can get. According to 2023 research published in Advances in Nutrition, that help may come in the form of tryptophan, an amino acid that supports the production of the sleep-enhancing hormones serotonin and melatonin. We often think of tryptophan in relation to turkey, but dairy products are also abundant in the essential amino acid, particularly hard cheeses. While there are plenty of hard cheeses out there to choose from, Men's Health suggests that cheddar cheese, in addition to being downright delicious, may have the added perk of improving sleep.

How much cheddar cheese to eat before bedtime

The reason that cheddar cheese may effectively lull us to sleep is because it's said to have as much as 60% more tryptophan than its Thanksgiving Day rival (via Men's Health). The more tryptophan, the sleepier we tend to feel due to the increased production of serotonin and melatonin. So just how much cheese do we need to eat to get us snoozing in record time?

Survey research conducted by the British Cheese Board found that eating 3-ounces of cheese before climbing into bed had 75% of participants sleeping soundly (via HuffPost). No need to get too technical with measurements, however. Men's Health alternatively suggests snacking on four cheddar cheese cubes, each roughly the size of a dice, before bedtime. But fair warning, eating cheddar cheese before hitting the hay may produce some unique dreams. NPR spoke with secretary of the British Cheese Board Nigel White back in 2005, who stated that in an experiment where participants ate two-thirds of an ounce of cheese 30 minutes before bedtime, those who ate cheddar cheese tended to have dreams featuring celebrities.

If you don't like cheddar, try either of these cheeses for better sleep

While cheddar cheese takes first place for being the most frequently eaten cheese in the U.S. (via NPR), there are plenty of other sleep-promoting cheeses that may also do the trick. Cottage cheese is one such option because its protein content also lends itself to tryptophan production (via Prevention). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese with 2% milkfat contains over 24 grams of protein. Similar to cheddar cheese, another fan favorite, mozzarella cheese, also wins out over turkey when it comes to tryptophan content. Mozzarella cheese has nearly double the amount of tryptophan per ounce compared to what you would find per ounce of turkey (via Prevention).

Tryptophan isn't the only compound in cheese that may promote sleep, however. It also contains other essential nutrients that can make us start yawning. "Cheese will provide calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are important for reducing muscle cramping and healthy blood pressure maintenance, and can help you drift off to sleep and stay asleep," registered dietitian Karman Meyer told Food Network.