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New York Post

Can eating cereal before bed really help you sleep?

By Jeanette Settembre,

2023-03-14

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day — and now apparently night, too.

Cereals are being rebranded and marketed as helping eaters get better shut-eye. Post, the maker of Honey Bunches of Oats and Raisin Bran , has released Sweet Dreams, a product line claiming to be the first ready-to-eat cereal designed to bolster bedtime routines while catering to nighttime snackers. But it also contains added sugar, which could be disruptive to rest.

The flake-filled bowls are made with ingredients like whole grains, an herbal blend, vitamins and minerals such as zinc, folic acid and B vitamins to promote natural melatonin production, according to a statement from the brand.

The cereals come in two flavors: Blueberry Midnight, with notes of lavender and chamomile , and Honey Moonglow, containing notes of honey, vanilla, lavender and chamomile.

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Cereal company Post has launched a line of bedtime cereals made with zinc, folic acid, B vitamins and other ingredients said to promote sleep. The cereals still contain sugar, however, which can be problematic to sleep cycles, studies suggest.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The ritual of eating before bed has long been frowned upon. Research has shown that consuming a large meal too close to lights-out could harm sleep. Refined sugars can increase blood sugar levels, causing a surge in energy keeping folks awake longer, Livestrong reported .

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What you eat before bed can affect your health: the foods you can indulge in and what to avoid

And while the Sweet Dreams cereal may come with calming ingredients like chamomile, it also contains as much as 13 grams of added sugar, which can wreak havoc on sleep cycles, other studies suggest .

“As sugar may act as an inflammatory that disturbs sleep, it is best to avoid it as much as possible close to bedtime. As a general rule, I recommended that someone not eat sugar for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to allow for proper digestion,” neurologist and sleep physician Brandon R. Peters told Livestrong.com . “That being said, an occasional sweet snack at nighttime is probably not something you need to worry about.”

Still, cereal company Post promotes it as a “nutrient dense” nightstand snack for winding down to “support a sleep routine.”

“Consumers are looking to embrace acts of self-care, particularly as it related to bedtime routines and we believe a relaxing bedtime routine is key to a good night’s sleep,” Logan Sohn, senior brand manager at Post, said in a statement.

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The Sweet Dreams cereal is said to be “nutrient dense” and has soothing tasting notes of chamomile and lavender.
Sweet Dreams/Post Consumer Brands

There’s clearly a market for sleepless eaters: Insomnia is a common condition worldwide, with the Cleveland Clinic noting that around one in three adults suffer from symptoms.

Those looking to boost sleep through food naturally could try fruits such as bananas, cherries, tomatoes, walnuts or oats, all of which contain melatonin, the naturally occurring hormone in the body that regulates sleep.

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