8 Pizza Toppings for Better Sleep (Yes, Really!)
October is National Pizza Month (Best. Kept. Secret.). We’re down for any celebration that involves this versatile food of champions, especially when you can pile on pizza toppings that stir up happy, sleepy feels.
Cancel your dinner plans, friends. You’re having pizza tonight—in bed.
Putting turkey on pizza may sound like an unlikely pairing (but stuffing a turkey with, well, stuffing, probably sounded weird once, too). Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a natural sedative. Also, research shows that eating lean protein, like turkey, before bedtime may lead to better sleep and less waking during the night. Heads up: Save this turkey pizza recipe for your upcoming holiday leftovers.
Just when you thought you had enough kale in your life, here it is again. Kale can help you snooze because it’s rich in calcium, a mineral that aids in the production of sleep hormones. Next time you’re craving a veggie pie, don’t forget to invite kale to the party.
If you love pesto sauce, which often contains pine nuts, the concept of putting nuts on pizza may not freak you out. Ready to get even nuttier? Sprinkle some flax, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds on your pie for a flavorful kick and a shot of magnesium and tryptophan, both of which boost levels of the relaxing hormone serotonin.
7. Cottage cheese
This salad bar favorite is high in lean protein and also contains tryptophan and casein, a milk protein that helps repair muscles while you sleep. It’s especially delicious on white pizza, if you want a break from your standard red sauce pie.
8. Whole wheat crust
It’s not technically a topping (unless you eat your pizza cheese-side down—we’ve seen it done). The complex carbs in whole grains contain magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant, and selenium, which calms the mind and body at bedtime. Try making a yummy homemade whole wheat dough in less than 30 minutes, or buy a frozen one.
Keep in mind that even the most sleep-inducing toppings can keep you awake if you inhale ALL the slices right before bed. Practice moderation, and try to avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime to avoid indigestion, experts say. And of course, be careful not to drop crumbs in bed.