Bedtime snacks… We’ve all heard several takes on this. Don’t eat after 8 or it will turn into fat. Eat nothing after dinner; in fact, brush your teeth right away so that you are not tempted to eat after dinner.
Don’t go to bed hungry. Certain snacks can help you sleep, so a snack is a good thing… What it boils down to is this: a bedtime snack can help you sleep well, or it can disrupt your sleep and your weight control endeavors. It depends on what you eat and how much.
Here are some facts.
Our digestive tracts work best when we are upright… and even better if we are moving. If you eat certain foods, or too much food before bed, it can cause acid reflux or heartburn. In addition, digestion can interfere with relaxation as it requires the body to expend energy, and if you eat too much, it could also cause you to have to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night. But… hunger can also disrupt sleep… so what is the right thing to do?
Eat any large meals early in the day when the body can best use the energy that food supplies.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal within 4 hours of going to bed.
- Don’t eat or drink caffeinated foods/drinks after noon.
- A small snack before bed to stave off hunger is OK if it is figured into your daily caloric intake of food.
- If you wake up hungry, and it doesn’t pass, eat a small (not more than 150 calorie) snack.
- Carbohydrate-rich foods are preferred as they raise your level of tryptophan, which is calming.
- Protein-rich foods are more difficult to digest, so keep protein to a small amount. Healthy Bed-time Snacks to Eat Alone or Combine
- Berries, Bananas, Apples
- Low or non-fat yogurt
- Butter-free popcorn
- Cereal (high-fiber, low or no sugar) with skim milk or almond milk (1 serving)
- 1/2 to 1 oz. Cheese
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter