Everybody knows the feeling of late night cravings, but fewer of us really know how to go about satisfying those cravings when they hit. Yes, eating right before you hit the hay can be a bit problematic since it has a way of weighing you down or making you feel uncomfortable while sleeping, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to snack smart before bed. Here, the experts help shed a bit of light on what to keep in mind when it comes to eating before dozing off for the night.
Can eating before bed be healthy?
When done properly, eating before bed is more than just okay – it might actually come with a few benefits. According to nutritionist Shawn Talbot, eating before bed can actually encourage a restful sleep as well as a more restorative sleep. This means that you’ll be able to sleep soundly through the night with fewer awakenings when you snack on sleep-friendly foods before bed, and you’ll boost your body’s ability to build muscle, repair tissue, and maintain your immunity during your sleep.
What kinds of food are good to eat before bed?
When it comes to selecting the right foods to nibble on before going to sleep, the best options are foods that are high in protein but relatively low in carbs and fat. Think things like yogurt, cheese and turkey, nuts, and granola.
It’s also important to consider the specific nutrients and minerals in different foods, which help play a role in promoting sound sleep and optimal health. Rebecca Lewis, the in-house dietitian at HelloFresh, recommends different options like pumpkin seeds, which contain tryptophan and help your body produce serotonin and melatonin; cherries, which are a natural source of melatonin; dark leafy greens or avocado, which are high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium and help relax your nerves before bed; and pistachios and chickpeas, which are high in vitamin B6 and will help your body produce tryptophan.
What to avoid when snacking before bed.
Of course, even if you’re eating approved foods before bed, overeating is still something that you have to be careful to avoid for a few different reasons. “One is the ‘load’ on the stomach that can hinder breathing and increase acid production, both of which can interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep,” says Talbot.
Another reason to be careful is because when you eat at night, the body is in storage mode, so rather than having foods converted into energy like they are during the day, they only really go towards rebuilding.