Over the years, bedtime snacks have gotten a bad rap. Some people claim that eating calories before bed will lead to weight gain. Others claim that late-night snacking makes it harder to fall asleep.
As it turns out, both of these concerns are legitimate. High-calorie, heavy snacks right before bed can cause you to gain weight, although the effect has more to do with the total calories that you consume during the day rather than the fact that you are stationary during the night. Eating spicy foods or too much food right before bed can also cause heartburn, which may make it harder to fall asleep.
Despite that, there are situations where having a bedtime snack is not only appropriate but also encouraged. The key is to choose the right foods. In terms of sleep, going to bed hungry is almost as bad as going to bed after a huge meal. Hunger pangs can keep you awake, making it a lot harder to fall asleep. Having a light snack before bed can keep hunger at bay, allowing you to drift off more peacefully.
Some foods also have sleep-inducing properties. Eating these foods before bed can help you get a better night’s sleep.
The key is knowing which foods to eat and which ones to avoid. Below are some of the ultimate snacks to have before bed. Try experimenting with several different snacks to see which ones you like best, both in terms of how they taste and how they affect your sleep habits.
- Pistachios. Like all nuts, pistachios are high in protein, meaning that they will keep you feeling full longer. More than that, however, they also are high in melatonin. This hormone helps promote better sleep. That means that eating a handful of pistachios before bed can not only fill you up but can also make you feel sleepier, making it easier to doze off. Just avoid going overboard and snacking on too many nuts. Measure out your portion ahead of time so that you don’t eat more than you intended to.
- Oatmeal. Enjoying a warm bowl of oatmeal before bed is a great way to stave off hunger without unwanted side effects. As always, it is important to limit your portion size. Instead of opting for a huge bowl of oatmeal, stick with the recommended serving size. Going with individual packets of instant oatmeal is a good option since they provide built-in portion control. Consider adding a splash of milk to your oatmeal, as well, to get a little bit of extra protein to go with the carbohydrates.
- Yogurt. Not only is yogurt easy to digest but it is also high in protein, making it a satisfying bedtime snack. Try sprinkling a little bit of granola on top to add some extra carbohydrates to the mix. Because yogurt is gentle on the stomach, you shouldn’t have to worry about digestive problems keeping you awake. As long as you choose the right type of yogurt, it is also an excellent low-calorie treat, making it a good option if you are trying to limit your calorie intake.
- Half a peanut butter sandwich. Slathering a piece of whole grain bread with peanut butter is a great way to get both protein and complex carbohydrates before bed. Best of all, this snack is fast and easy to prepare, meaning that you don’t need to put a lot of time or effort into figuring out what to eat. If you want, you can even toast the bread for a warm, delicious treat.
- Scrambled eggs. Eggs are full of vitamins and nutrients and are also a good source of protein. For a quick bedtime snack, try making some scrambled eggs in your microwave. That way, you don’t have to worry about dirtying a pan. If you want to add some carbohydrates to the mix, try having one egg and a slice of toast.
These are some of the ultimate snacks to have before bed. When looking for foods to snack on, there are a few criteria that you should keep in mind. First, the best bedtime snacks combine protein and complex carbohydrates, helping to keep you feeling full all night long. They also should be easy to digest so that you don’t wind up tossing and turning all night with an upset stomach or heartburn.