Sometimes you feel hunger pangs just when it’s time for bed. Okay, if we’re really honest, it happens far more often, and to more people, than we care to admit. It’s really not so bad to grab a small snack before going to bed, and it’s definitely better than going 8 to 12 hours hungry. Remember, your body still burns energy while you’re sleeping. And if you go to bed already hungry, the body pretty much uses up all its energy reserves. That can make you feel depleted and lethargic in the morning.
However, not all bedtime snacks are good. And you’d be surprised about some of the foods you absolutely shouldn’t eat before hitting the sack.
1. Nut Butter
Any kind of nut butter (ex. almond butter, peanut butter) can cause weight gain when consumed as a bedtime snack. You might have heard that peanut butter can help in weight loss. While some studies definitely support the claim, there is also research reporting that it can cause weight gain. So err on the side of caution and just ditch the nut butter if it’s time for bed.
Alcohol is a downer and can make you feel drowsy and lethargic. That doesn’t mean it makes for a refreshing and revitalizing sleep, though. In fact, alcohol can be very dehydrating and it reduces the restorative functions of sleep. Why do you think people get hangovers? If what you’re after is a long, deep and restful slumber, you might want to stay away from alcohol before going to bed.
Let’s talk about the three most likely culprits here: candy bars, ice cream and chocolate. The sweet trifecta.
Candy bars are tempting. They’re pretty much little bite-sized pieces of sugary awesomeness. Except they’re not really very awesome at bedtime. Scientists found that the high sugar content of these candy bars can produce nightmarish brain waves. Not only will you risk restless sleep, you may even wake up and not be able to go back to sleep again.
Ice cream, meanwhile, is a double whammy. It’s an amazing comfort food, but one of the worst for pre-bedtime. It’s packed with fat that’s usually digested at a slow rate and it’s high in sugar. So consuming large quantities before sleeping not only puts you at risk of nightmares, but you also stand to gain more weight from the slow-burning fat.
Finally, dark chocolate – good for the brain and memory and a hell on your waistline. Again, eating at bedtime means you’re storing all the fat at night.
When is it ever a good time to indulge in chips? Chips are tasty, savory pieces of heaven, sure, and because of this they’re just so hard to stop eating. Chips will make you overeat every time and the next thing you know you’re packing on the pounds.
Pasta sounds like a quick fix if you’re hungry. Many pasta recipes rarely take more than half an hour to prepare. But pasta dishes are packed with carbohydrates that turn to fat when you sleep.
It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like pizza. It’s not a light meal however, and is in fact one of the harder foods to digest at any time of the day. And if your digestive system is already having a hard time processing it during daytime, the effort more than doubles when the work is being done at night. Another downside? Pizza is very greasy and has many ingredients that are highly acidic, increasing the risk of heartburn.
7. Red Meat
Red meat is a good source of proteins and iron. However, if you want your body to be at peace and have a deep and restful slumber, take the juicy steak off the dinner menu. Red meat takes a while to process and won’t be giving your internals any rest if consumed near bedtime.
This is perhaps the only time you’d be told to stay away from the veggies. Vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are rich in insoluble fiber, that’s how you feel fuller for longer when eating them. It’s great during the day. At night, the slow-moving fibers going through your digestive system may just result in excessive flatulence.
Going to bed on an empty stomach is never a good idea. So if you feel hungry, by all means have a small snack before sleeping. But make sure to keep it at just 200 calories or less and that this snack doesn’t contain any ingredients that could otherwise disrupt your sleep and wreak havoc to your health.
We propose you eat a Greek yogurt with some honey and sliced bananas, as this snack has an amazing balance of both carbohydrates and protein. You can also ditch the yogurt and honey and just eat a single banana.