• Deanne Pandey

To eat or not to eat? Here are some foods you might wanna watch out for before sleeping

We have all heard how late night snacking and eating right before you sleep can practically make or break your fitness goals. While the occasional bedtime snack is fine, capping off every day with sweet or salty fare may spell trouble. Snacking later into the night increases the chance of weight gain, obesity, and cardiometabolic diseases. Ideally, you’ll stop eating two to three hours before going to bed. If you’re actually hungry and you need a snack to dip into slumber, chances are you’re not eating enough during the day. Still, if you do need to eat, or you crave a quick bite before bed, it is important to choose a small, low-calorie, nutrient-dense snack at this time of the day. For many people, the ideal nighttime snack may consist of a simple 150-calorie option that is high in nutrients. Consuming a low-calorie carbohydrate or protein snack 30 minutes before sleep helped boost metabolism in the morning. You can choose from a variety of healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, seeds, and oatmeal that require minimal preparation. But there are some foods you may want to avoid eating before bed because they may disrupt your sleep. You'll want to avoid food that contains lots of sugar and processed carbs, since those can work against helping you get a good night's sleep. The fast-digesting carbs could cause a boost of energy so you might want to steer away from the same. Something else you'll want to avoid before bed? Spicy foods, since those can cause acid reflux, and no one wants to wake up to digestive issues throughout the night. 

Here are some foods that you can opt for in case you feel like snacking at night-

1. Banana with Almond Butter

Almonds and bananas are excellent sources of magnesium. A serving size of a banana and one ounce of almonds provides just over 100 milligrams of magnesium. Bananas are also rich in potassium, which can improve sleep quality in women especially.

2. Protein Smoothie

For athletes, drinking a protein smoothie before bed may help with muscle repair. Drinking whey or casein protein shakes before bed can spur a higher rate of muscle synthesis. These benefits may be even more pronounced when paired with an exercise routine earlier in the evening.

Most health food stores have a variety of protein powders to choose from. There are usually vegan options as well for those who do not want to consume dairy. If you are worried about eating too much before bed, you may want to try mixing your protein powder with almond milk or water for a lower-calorie option.

3. Oatmeal

Hot or cold oatmeal might help prepare your body for sleep and keep you full throughout the night. Oats contain magnesium as well as melatonin, the sleep hormone. Consider making a batch of overnight oats with dried fruits and seeds for a simple nighttime snack option.

4. Fruit

Fruit is another way to get in your essential vitamins and minerals. Eating certain fruits before bed may also help you sleep better. One study found that consumption of pineapple, oranges, and bananas increased melatonin production about two hours later. Kiwis have also been shown to have some sleep-inducing properties. If you prefer to keep sugar consumption to a minimum, you may still find some fruits adequate for a bedtime snack. You may want to try drinking a glass of cherry juice about an hour before bed, or you can add cherries to your protein smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt.

5. Nuts and Seeds

High-sodium diets are linked to poorer sleep quality. Unsalted nuts and or seeds might be a good substitute for salty snacks like potato chips.

Pistachios contain the highest amount of melatonin within the nut family. Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are also great. Sprinkling pumpkin seeds on your oats or yogurt give an added crunchy texture. Cashews and walnuts are also considered good nut options for sleep. Cashews have high levels of potassium and magnesium, and walnuts may help synthesize serotonin.

6. Yogurt

Yogurt is rich in calcium, and some research suggests that including calcium in your diet can make it easier to fall asleep and lead to more restorative sleep.Yogurt also contains protein, as well as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and magnesium, which can all contribute to sounder sleep.

Try these foods out next time you feel like snacking before bedtime!

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