If you struggle with insomnia, you’re not alone. The American Sleep Association estimates that roughly 30% of the general population suffers from insomnia. In a world of sleepless nights and early mornings, these cherry white chocolate cookies are the sleep remedy you never knew you needed.
Sleepless nights equal sleepy days
A sleepless night, also known as a white night, leaves you feeling fatigued and cranky. When you don’t get enough sleep, or your sleep is of low quality, your body will feel a variety of deficits.
In the short term, lack of sleep can make you irritable, forgetful, and constantly hungry. Long term, you might experience weight gain and decreased sex drive. Sleep deprivation can even make your skin age faster.
What do you do when you need a boost? Sugary snacks and coffee? This temporary fix is a one-way ticket to another sleepless night. At the end of the day, you might reach for some dark chocolate and wine, but your nightcap might be making things worse.
Never fear, your white “knight” is here to save your sleep! These delectable desserts are packed with insomnia-fighting ingredients to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up rejuvenated in the morning.
But first, why do we need these cookies? Let’s talk Insomnia.
Insomnia: A common foe
Simply put, insomnia is the inability to sleep. Just imagine: you cozy up in bed after a long day of work. You are exhausted. But for some reason, you just can’t seem to drift off. You turn over trying to find the right position, but time crawls by and daylight rolls in. You haven’t slept a wink. Now you have to face the day running on fumes.
If you’ve experienced insomnia before, just the thought of insomnia can stress you out enough to keep you awake. Why is insomnia so formidable? Insomnia creeps in at the first opportunity. Had too much coffee today? Work out too close to bedtime? Suffer from acid reflux? There are countless causes for insomnia that range from diet to hormone imbalance to stress and anxiety.
Insomnia ranges from acute to chronic, meaning you can suffer from sleep deprivation for one night, or for even months at a time. If you are struggling with insomnia, there are a variety of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your sleep health.
One of the most prominent determinants of your sleep health is your diet. Filling your body with sugar, caffeine, or spicy/heavy foods before bed can severely disrupt your sleep. Nourishing your body with a healthy combination of carbs and proteins can help your body produce all the right hormones to drift off to sleep naturally.
Carbs and protein: Sleep’s noble steeds
Carbs and protein are the BFFs of a good night’s sleep. Not just any carbs and protein though, your body needs the right combination of complex carbohydrates and amino acids to promote a healthy sleep cycle. The MVP of this recipe is the amino acid tryptophan.
When tryptophan enters the bloodstream, your body turns it into a B vitamin called Niacin. Niacin is used in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that aids in melatonin regulation, your sleep hormone. The bottom line: tryptophan before bedtime means better sleep.
Here’s the catch — tryptophan has a really hard time breaking through the Blood-Brain-Barrier (BBB). Why? Proteins contain a wide variety of amino acids that typically show up in much greater quantities than tryptophan. AKA, tryptophan is constantly sitting in rush hour traffic. But what if a giant claw came down and lifted all the other cars out of its way? Tryptophan’s commute would suddenly be a LOT easier. That’s what carbs do.
Carbohydrates knock out the competition, allowing tryptophan to cross the BBB. So in order to attain a good night’s sleep, you should consume carbs and protein together. White Night Cookies contain a balance of healthy carbs, tryptophan filled proteins, and naturally melatonin-rich ingredients. Oh, and did we mention they are delicious?
White Night cookies
Let’s break this down
These cookies are soft, chewy, and delicious, but they are also nutrient-dense. Take a look at all the ingredients that are working hard to help you relax.
- Coconut oil: A healthy fat that provides sustained energy to keep you satisfied all night.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt and milk both contain tryptophan. They also have high counts of calcium, which aids in stress reduction and stabilization of nerve fibers. Can’t do dairy? Swap this out for unsweetened applesauce.
- Pitted Dates: A natural sweetener with no pesky refined sugar.
- Egg: Eggs and poultry (looking at you, Turkey) contain tryptophan.
- Honey: Another natural sweetener that increases insulin levels just enough to aid tryptophan on its journey to the brain. Be sure to buy local honey to boost your immune system.
- Spelt Flour: An ancient grain that doubles as a complex carbohydrate.
- Rolled Oats: Another complex-carb that is imperative in this balanced recipe.
- Flax Seed: Seeds are high in tryptophan, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium, all of which aid in serotonin regulation. Magnesium even helps prevent restless leg syndrome and night terrors.
- Sea salt: A little salt goes a long way. Sea salt contains natural minerals that help regulate cortisol (your stress hormone) levels to keep your mind at ease at night.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a true power food. It’s calming qualities are accompanied by the power to decrease bad cholesterol, controls insulin levels, and it serves as an antioxidant. Try adding some to your warm milk!
- Ginger and Cardamom: These unique spices help prevent heartburn, acid reflux, and nausea. Try calming cardamom tea as an alternative to warm milk.
- Walnuts: Nuts are rich in tryptophan and melatonin, and are a great source of manganese, biotin, healthy omega-3 fatty acid, fiber, and antioxidants! Don’t like walnuts? Try pecans or almonds. Allergic to nuts? Take them out! This recipe will still be delicious without them.
- Cherries: Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin.
- White Chocolate: Unlike white chocolate’s darker counterparts, it does not contain caffeine or the sleep-disrupting theobromine. Do not swap this out for dark chocolate!
The recipe: White Night Cookies
Let’s get down to business.
Prep time: 10 min + Cook time: 20 min = Total time: 30 min
*Contains Nuts and Dairy
What you’ll need:
- Measuring cups
- Mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheet
- Cooling rack
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup pitted dates (soft)
- 1 egg
- 1-2 tbsp honey
- 3/4 cups spelt flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup flax seed
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chunks
- Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all wet ingredients, including dates, in the blender and blend until smooth.
- Combine all dry ingredients including walnuts, flax seed, and cherries in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients to form dough.
- Fold in white chocolate chunks.
- Scoop about 2 tbs of dough and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Press down dough with your fingers to about ½ inch thick rounds.
- Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack.
Enjoy these cookies in a dimly lit room with a book and a warm cup of milk or calming chamomile tea about an hour before bedtime. Happy sleeping!
Have you tried this recipe? We’d love to know what you think! Leave us a comment below.