You Should Eat Pumpkin Seeds Before Bed. Here's Why

Nighttime snacking is a popular hobby in the United States. In fact, according to a Harris Poll from 2019, some 83 percent of Americans admit to grabbing a post-dinner treat at least once a week (and 20 percent say it's a nightly occurrence). If you're notorious for your nighttime noshing, chances are you aren't reaching for the healthiest snacks in the pantry. I.e., many of us are guilty of dipping our hands into a bag of Doritos or snagging a chocolate bar when the evening munchies hit. After all, the same survey reported that the most popular snacks are chips and pretzels, baked goods, candy, and ice cream. Delicious? Yes. But healthy? Not so much.

While there are plenty of better-for-you snack options (like hardboiled eggs, for instance, which are Chrissy Teigen's pre-bed bite), there's one in particular that you might want to consider adding to your arsenal: pumpkin seeds. Here's why they make for a great nighttime snack.

Pumpkin seeds can help you sleep better

What you eat before bed doesn't just affect your overall health — it also affects your sleep. That's where pumpkin seeds can come in handy, says Triad to Wellness dietitian Tracee Yablon Brenner in an interview with Food Network. "Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, which is an amino acid that has been helpful in treating insomnia," she explained. "Your body converts it into serotonin, then melatonin, the relaxing sleep hormone."

According to Healthline, pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium, and a mere one-ounce serving contains over a third of your recommended daily intake. Magnesium improves your sleep by helping your body maintain appropriate levels of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that allows your brain to relax and drift off soundly (via Psychology Today). Healthline reports that about 79 percent of Americans have a magnesium deficiency, so if you're struggling with sleep, that could be the issue — and a handful of pumpkin seeds before you hit the hay could help.