Sometimes, no matter how you try to eat well and evenly through your day, you feel hunger pangs just when it’s time for bed. If we’re being honest, then we can admit that maybe it happens far more often and to more people than we care to admit.
Grabbing a small snack before going to bed is not so bad. And it’s probably still better than going 8 to 12 hours hungry. The body burns energy while sleeping. Going to bed hungry only means the body will end up using all its reserves. That’s why you wake up feeling lethargic and depleted.
But just because you can eat doesn’t mean you can’t be a little bit more selective with what you ingest. Not all before bedtime snacks are good. You’d be surprised about some of the foods you absolutely shouldn’t eat before hitting the sack.
Alcohol is a downer. It 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. It reduces the restorative functions of sleep. That’s why 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.
When is it ever a good time to indulge in chips? Chips are tasty, sure, but 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.
- Nut Butter
Any kind of nut butter (ex. almond butter, peanut butter) can cause weight gain when made it a bedtime snack. You might have heard that peanut butter can help in weight loss. While some studies definitely support that, there is also research to prove that it can cause weight gain. So err on the side of caution and avoid nut butter if it’s time for bed.
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 the day, 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 for heartburn.
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, you also stand to gain more weight from the slow-burning fat.
Finally, dark chocolate – good for brain and memory and hell on your waistline. Again, eating at bedtime means you’re storing all the fat at night.
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 doesn’t contain any ingredients that could otherwise disrupt your sleep and wreak havoc on your health.