It’s late at night, and you are minutes away from sleep, but you feel that pang of hunger or just a craving to eat something. Of course, you know that it is best not to eat too late at night, as the scientific evidence lists a couple of adverse effects, but you still have to eat something. This article is your cheat code, as it lists some snacks that are safe to eat just before bed or late at night.
However, you should note that even with snacks, experts recommend that you don't take more than 200 calories late at night. Without further ado, here are the best snacks to eat before bed:
1. Tart Cherries
The first food on our list is tart cherries, the fruit or its juice. Tart cherries contain an essential sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin. Therefore a few small studies suggest that they may help you sleep better.
For example, a recent study showed that a group of women with insomnia slept for about an hour more due to taking in 8 ounces of tart cherry juice at breakfast or before bedtime.
Additionally, they may protect against inflammation-related conditions such as heart disease and arthritis.
Kiwis are nutritious and are not dangerous to your weight-loss plan. For example, two peeled kiwis contain about 93 calories and 5 grams of fibre, making it safe for you to eat at night.
Furthermore, studies have shown that Kiwis also help you sleep better at night. This is because they contain serotonin, which has a relaxing effect on the nerves.
In one study, a number of adults with sleep difficulties were asked to eat two Kiwis before bed every night. They discovered that after a month, they experienced a 35% decrease in the time it took to fall asleep and a 15% increase in their overall time asleep.
A yoghurt will also work if you feel a hunger pang late at night. Yoghurt contains a good amount of calcium which, apart from making your bones strong, can also help achieve better sleep.
It does this by facilitating the processing of sleep hormones like tryptophan and melatonin in the body. Yoghurt, particularly Greek yoghurt, is also a host to rich amounts of protein, especially casein protein. This is good news because experts suggest that taking in casein protein before bed could be instrumental in reducing hunger the following day.
If you go this route, go for plain yoghurt and get your flavour from unsweetened fruits. You can enjoy a 6-ounce (170-gram) container of plain, non-fat yoghurt since it contains just 94 calories.
4. Strawberries (and maybe some Brie)
Strawberries are a large snack to take late at night, but thankfully they don't pack significant calories to bother you. One cup (166 grams) of sliced strawberries contains just 53 calories. This means you can take two cups and still be safely below the calorie limit for late-night eating.
Adding an ounce of brie to your cup of strawberries could also be a good idea for within-limit late-night snacks. Like tart cherries, strawberries contain a significant amount of melatonin, which helps you to sleep better and longer.
There may be a little hurray here since we all love our cereals. However, we must add that whole-grain, hot cereals like oatmeal are preferable to their more refined and cold counterparts, under these circumstances.
Hot cereal with the addition of milk and other toppings are excellent and natural sources of melatonin which helps sleep. Alternatively, you could also convert whole-grain rice into hot cereal with the addition of milk, nuts and other toppings.
The average amount of calories in three-quarters of a cup of cooked oatmeal is 124. A tablespoon of raisins adds 27 calories. Altogether still less than 200 calories.
This is the last snack on our list. Nuts generally are good sources of melatonin. Thus, a handful of nuts will satisfy cravings and hunger while making you sleepy.
Furthermore, nuts like almonds and walnuts contain magnesium which helps to reduce insomnia in older adults.
Some Snacks to Avoid At All Cost
Having mentioned snacks that could help satisfy some late-night hunger, we thought to throw in some other snacks to avoid late-at night. They include:
Ice cream may be delicious, and we may all love it, but it should be avoided late at night. Traditional ice-creams increase your blood sugar which makes it much more difficult for you to sleep.
Similarly, to ice cream, chocolate has a high sugar content, so it's not the best option for a bedtime snack. Caffeine is also a stimulant in chocolate that disrupts the body's sleep pattern throughout the night.
It is also important to remember that the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it contains. Dark chocolate is still a good choice for a diabetes-friendly, heart-healthy snack, but it's best to enjoy it during the day.
Other late night foods to avoid include:
- Potato chips
- Fried Food
There you have them, some snacks that can safely satisfy that late-night craving and others that you should avoid since they negatively affect your sleep. Enjoying deep and restful sleep is a combination of proper eating and the right sleeping environment.
As you watch what you eat, get bedding and sleep materials that make you comfortable, such as our Weighted Blanket. It is engineered to make every night's sleep a completely restful experience.