If you are in the habit of eating your evening meal fairly early on, you may feel that you need a snack before bed to keep you going through the night and prevent you from waking up. However, in order to avoid disturbing sleep or weight gain, it is necessary to opt for the right type of snack to ease nighttime hunger. Analyze some of the below-mentioned tips before opting for bedtime snack:
- Is it really required? – It is important to think about if you are really hungry. Are you simply eating mindlessly as a way to relax after a tiring day? Will you wake up before breakfast if you don’t have a snack or is it just extra calories that are not actually required. A snack may be necessary if night hunger is a true problem for you. However, it is essential to make this snack as healthy as possible and low in calories and fat to keep unwanted weight gains far away.
- A healthy bedtime snack and good night’s sleep– For some people, bedtime snack is the best sleep aid no matter what, whilst others will find certain foods make sleep more difficult. If you need a pre-sleep snack, you should try a few different options to observe which is the best for you. Above all, bedtime snacks should be healthy, nutritious and ideally low in calories, especially if you are conscious about your weight.
- i)Carbohydrate-based snacks: These are thought to be the natural sleep remedies to get a good night’s sleep. It makes you feel tired, which is why you often feel drowsy after the meals largely containing carbohydrates. Health wise, it is best to choose carbohydrates based on whole grains, as they are more fibrous, consists of more minerals and vitamins than refined sources. They also keep you energized for longer, and thus the chances of midnight hunger are less.
- ii)Protein based foods: These have also been suggested as natural sleeping pills. For some people, a small protein based snack may be a good bedtime option and will help fill you up, but make sure it is also low in fat to avoid excess calories and disrupted digestion.
- Nutritious bedtime snack options-
iii.Whole grain cereal
iv.A hardboiled egg
v.A handful of unsalted almonds
vi.A couple of slices of whole grain toast with a spread of almond butter or a thin slice of low-fat cheese.
vii.Cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt mixed with fruit- cherries are thought to be particularly good for a restful night as they are naturally high in melatonin, a sleep remedy.
viii.A glass of low-fat milk
- Things to be avoided before bed:
- i. Caffeine: Everybody knows caffeine is a stimulant which has the effect of waking you up. Therefore, it makes sense to avoid this before bed. For some people, a coffee a couple of hours before sleeping makes no difference to their quality of sleep, while for others, even the snacks after lunchtime will turn their night to be unsound.
- ii.Alcohol: Whilst some swear that a glass of wine before bed is the perfect way to get a good night’s sleep, however, the initial effect of alcohol may be to put you to sleep, but, it generally disrupts sleep later on in the night. This means you may wake un-rested and sleep deprived.
- iii.Heavy meals: Many people find a heavy meal too close to bed can disrupt sleep. Meals containing a high volume of fat should also be avoided as they might boost acid reflux. For this reason, as well as for weight management, bedtime snacks should be low in fat and small.
- iv.Packaged snack foods: These foods are high in sugar, fat, and salt, none of which are the best option for a good night’s sleep. They are also full of calories and provide no nutritional value leading to weight gain without adding anything to your health.
The “don’t eat at night” theory is logical initially, after all, the earlier you consume calories, the more time you get to burn them. Eating at night may be counterproductive to your physique if it’s the only meal you prefer to eat all day or you save-up all of your calories for an evening snack. You should stop being afraid to chow down after sundown. It’s more important to focus on what you eat at night, rather than what time you eat. Opt for healthy bedtime snack that should also be a natural sleeping aid.