Breakfast Before Bed

Enjoy breakfast in the morning and before bed! Many foods can help get a good night sleep, but one of the best is a bowl of healthy cereal and milk.

*almond or soy milk may substitute*

Why cereal and milk?

  1. High carb (cereal)
  2. Low-medium protein (milk)
  3. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6 (cereal and milk)

High carb + Low-medium protein » Serotonin and Melatonin (sleep inducing hormones)

***This is why a high carb lunch puts you in a food-coma!***

How does cereal and milk effect sleep?

  • High carb foods help the body’s pancreas quickly release:
    • Insulin, a hormone needed to help the cells bring in sugar as well as some amino acids (building blocks of protein) from the blood.
  • Low-medium protein foods have less amino acids, which gives:
    • Tryptophan, the key amino acid needed in the production of serotonin and melatonin a higher chance to get into the brain due to less competition with other amino acids. Tryptophan binds to albumin, a blood protein, which makes it resistant to insulin.

High carb + Low-medium protein » Tryptophan gets transported into the brain

Once inside the brain: Tryptophan » Serotonin » Melatonin » Sleep J

Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6 are ALL in healthy cereal!

They help the brain use tryptophan in the production of melatonin.

Does it matter what kind of cereal?

Yes. Choose whole grain cereal LOW in sugar and HIGH in fiber to provide a long lasting source of serotonin. Non-whole grain cereal high in sugar and low in fiber produces serotonin with short lasting effects.

The 5/5 Cereal Rule

5 grams of sugar or less and 5 grams of fiber or more/serving

Look for these cereals! Mix and match for different flavors and textures


Add these high fiber cereals with 6-9 grams of sugar/serving for a sweeter taste

What are good food choices to mix into cereal?

  • Bananas: Promote fast insulin production. They also contain some tryptophan and are a good source of magnesium and vitamin B6
  • Berries: Lower in sugar than most fruit
  • Peanut butter and nuts: A great source of magnesium
  • Sunflower seeds: An excellent source of vitamin B6
  • Oats: Similar to cereal; an excellent source of fiber and no sugar
  • Yogurt: Use with or instead of milk. Counts as both a carb and a protein Also a great source of calcium

Find out what nutrients make up your favorite cereal! Look carefully at the amount of sugar and fiber in each serving.

Check out this interesting study about cereal!

Other Resources