Having trouble nodding off to dreamland? These snacks just before bed will help you get a better night’s rest.

Everyone suffers from lack of sleep at one time or another. However, some people can’t seem to catch any Zs on a consistent basis.

If you’ve tried everything from meditation to counting sheep to help you fall asleep, consider eating a small bedtime snack. Certain foods trigger sleepiness and some will even help you get a longer, deeper night’s rest.

Here are 4 nighttime snacks that will help you sleep:

1. Walnuts

Walnuts contain melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that controls your body clock. Normally, the amount of melatonin in your body increases later in the evening, but if your levels are low, eating a handful of walnuts can restore your melatonin supply. About 14 walnut halves (185 calories) eaten before bedtime should be enough to enhance your cycle of sleep.

2. Cherries or Cherry Juice

Tart, natural cherries also boost melatonin, plus they are a carbohydrate-rich snack. Doctors have discovered that carbohydrates help to reset your normal circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour clock in your body, helping you sleep sounder. A cup of cherries is only 100 calories. One study found that drinking tart cherry juice before bed helped older adults fall asleep easier.

3. Bowl of Cereal

Breakfast cereal that contains complex carbohydrates resets your sleep patterns and fills your stomach. Low sugar, whole-grain cereals are also a good source of vitamin B, which may prevent insomnia. Use warm milk for a double dose of sleep-inducing foods.

4. Chamomile Tea or Green Tea

Hot liquids relax the body and mind, and both of these teas are caffeine-free. Used for centuries as a sleep aid, chamomile is thought to have anti-anxiety effects which in turn, promotes good sleep. Green tea contains theanine, a relaxing sleep-enhancer.

Concerned about your sleep habits?

The USC Sleep Disorders Center of Keck Medicine of USC offers comprehensive outpatient and inpatient sleep disorders evaluations. If you are in the Los Angeles area, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://neuro.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.

By Heidi Tyline King