No matter how exhausted we might be after a long day, so many of us still end up spending our nights tossing and turning. But apparently, we might just need to try noshing on the right bedtime snack. It turns out that despite their small size, chickpeas are chock full of nutrients that can help us sleep better!
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a complex carbohydrate — meaning they break down slower in our system without causing blood sugar spikes — which have been found to boost our serotonin hormone levels. This means whether you roast your chickpeas into a crispy treat or blend them into some hummus, eating them can help you drift off to sleep. This is especially good news for those who deal with anxiety, which according to the Mayo Clinic can be naturally calmed with more of this “happy hormone.”
Chickpeas can also raise our serotonin levels thanks to their ample amount of tryptophan. Yep, the same amino acid that notoriously makes us feel like napping after a turkey dinner is in these legumes, too. Another perk of tryptophan: It’s known to increase melatonin production, which we all know helps with hitting snooze.
But perhaps the biggest sleep benefit of chickpeas is their impressive levels of magnesium. You’ll be chowing on 81 grams of the nutrient per cup. That’s roughly the same amount you can get from some magnesium supplements, like Natural Vitality Calm Gummies (Buy from Natural Vitality, $29.95).
Research shows that magnesium regulates neurotransmitters between the nervous system and brain, which promotes a sense of calm and, again, produces sleep-inducing melatonin. It also binds to GABA, the neurotransmitter used by prescription sleep medications, making it a great natural sleep aid that won’t leave you feeling groggy the next day.
So the next time you find yourself feeling restless before bed, try grabbing chickpeas from your kitchen cabinet and enjoy a delicious snack! One can has about a cup and a half of the legumes, so you’ll get plenty of the magnesium and other nutritional perks (even if you can’t quite finish the whole can).
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.