#GoodNights Challenge and Q&A with Food Blogger Sarah Coates

Sarah Coates from The Sugar Hit shares three recipes that will make toast your best evening snack ever.

NATIONAL SLEEP FOUNDATION -- Each month, the National Sleep Foundation is partnering with select bloggers and digital influencers for a new iteration of the #GoodNights challenge. We’ll explore new ways to get a good night’s rest by showcasing real life examples of how a good night’s sleep can positively impact your body, mind and spirit. We know that many of our readers want real life tips for sleeping better, so follow along and share your own #GoodNights stories by using hashtag across social media channels like Twitter and Instagram.

July’s Sleep Challenge

The National Sleep Foundation challenged food bloggers to utilize sleep-friendly ingredients in a recipe of their choosing – be it a get-you-started breakfast, a perk-me-up midday snack or a sweet treat to help you drift off to dreamland. We also asked the bloggers—many of whom boast full-time jobs in addition to their blogging duties—to make sure they were taking time to prioritize their sleep by participating in the #GoodNights challenge, where they’d follow our healthy sleep tips for at least a week to see how sleeping well impacted everything from their eating habits to their nighttime routine.

Below, find Sarah's recipes, as well as her thoughts on how sleep impacts her day to day life.

Before participating in this event, did you ever consider the impact that foods might have on your sleep? 

No! I had hardly ever thought about how what I eat could affect my sleep. Of course, I knew that it wasn't a good idea to have coffee or a sugary drink right before bed, but other than that, I was totally clueless.

Did you make any changes to your usual recipe process when accommodating ingredients that support sleep health? If so, what was the hardest part?

I certainly did! I am a chronic late-night snacker. It doesn't help that my partner works a late night shift, and I can't sleep if he's not home. So it was great for me to learn about the foods I should be eating, particularly when quality sleep is such a precious commodity to me. The hardest part (and this is probably no surprise, since I write The Sugar Hit!) was cutting back on sugar and sweet things.

How do your usual eating habits match up with healthy sleep habits? If you took the challenge, did you change your eating habits at all?

My usual eating habits are actually pretty healthy! As a sweets and desserts blogger, I have had to educate myself on balancing my diet, because if I didn't I would slide into extremely unhealthy habits very quickly. So I already ate a lot of the whole grains, nuts, fruits, veggies and things that mean healthy sleep! The hardest part was late night snacking. I used to think a square or two of dark chocolate before bed was a good way to assuage late-night hunger pangs, but now I know that it was probably keeping me up.

Did any of the ingredients surprise you? If so, which ones and why?

The only one that really jumped out at me was peppermint! I always think of peppermint as an invigorating flavour, with a bright, refreshing quality. So it was a surprise to see it recommended in the evening to aid sleep, but once you take the sugar away, it does become a more soothing, warm flavor.

Sarah also sent us three deliciously creative takes on toast to ease your nighttime hunger pains and help you drift off to a sounder sleep. 

Blueberry Almond Toast

Serves 1

  • 1 slice whole grain toast
  • 2 tsp almond butter
  • 3-4 blueberries
  • 2 tsp flaked almonds
  • ½ tsp maple syrup

Spread the toasted bread thickly with almond butter, slice the blueberries in half (or leave them whole if they’re small) and scatter over with the flaked almonds. Drip over the maple syrup, and serve.

Blueberry Almond Toast - The Sugar Hit
Almonds have magnesium, which promotes muscle relaxation and sleep.

Fig Ricotta Toast

Serves 1

  • 1 slice baguette, or other crusty bread
  • 2 tbsp whole milk ricotta
  • ½ fresh fig
  • 3-4 walnuts, broken
  • ½ tsp honey

Toast the baguette until crisp. Spread over the ricotta, and top with slices of  fig, broken walnuts and a tiny drizzle of honey. If your fig is beautifully ripe, you may not even need the honey.

Fig Ricotta Toast - The Sugar Hit
Whole grains combine tryptophan and complex carbs to help you drift off easier.

Peanut Butter Raspberry Cinnamon Toast

Serves 1

  • ½ whole wheat English muffin
  • 2 tsp natural peanut butter (no added sugar)
  • 2-3 fresh raspberries
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Toast the muffin until dark and crisp. Once it has cooled slightly, spread over the peanut butter, top with torn raspberries, and scatter with a pinch of cinnamon.

Peanut Butter Raspberry Cinnamon Toast
Peanut butter contains protein that will keep you full throughout the night.