First of all we have to find out if it is bad or not to eat before going to bed. Because usually, we are on the go all day; then sometimes after work, we rush off to the gym or chill out with friends, or enjoy our hobbies, etc. Sometimes, many of us get home late at night, physically drained from the day’s activities and we’re starving. Eating late at night isn’t ideal, but sometimes it feels as if we don’t have a choice with our fast-paced lifestyles.
There are conflicting studies on whether eating before bed boosts your metabolism or does it make you gain weight? The line is somewhat blurred around this topic, but two pros, one Summer Sanders, a raw foods chef and author of the book Raw and Radiant, along with Amy Shapiro, nutritionist and founder of Raw Nutrition have this to say: “It’s really more about what you’re eating versus when”. They say if you eat a huge dinner right at bedtime, it can lead to weight gain and also negatively affect your cardiovascular health.
Eating small nutrient-dense foods or a single macronutrient food can actually help your body
They suggest their clients try things like lean protein, fresh fruits, a handful of nuts, vegetables, whole grains. It is advised to go slow on the sugars like candies, dried fruits, and fruit juices, as these can disrupt sleep; they can cause a sugar crash causing you to wake in the middle of the night. They say it’s OK to eat healthily before bed if you are truly hungry, and want to ensure that you don’t have hunger pangs – but just eating for sport because you are bored or watching TV is not a habit to promote.
The benefits of having a small healthy snack at night
This can help with sleep and there are other benefits too of heaving a small healthy meal before bed –
- You are less likely to experience blood sugar drops in the morning.
- When your stomach is satisfied, you get better sleep, so you will be less likely to wake in the middle of the night.
- When you consume protein before bed, you are helping towards muscle repair; even supporting their growth.
- When you eat a small, nutrient-dense snack before bed, you are supplying your body with energy so that the metabolism functions while you are resting.
Suggestions for some basic top healing balanced foods as you go to bed
Apple, kiwi, small handfuls of walnuts or almonds, papaya, carrot slices, garbanzo beans, a small cup of jasmine rice, a piece of sprouted grain toast with a tablespoon raw nut butter are all healthy food solutions before going to bed.
What about an almond milk tea latte? All you do is steep a decaf chai tea bag in almost boiled unsweetened almond milk – about 8 ounces. Then add a dash of cinnamon and stevia to sweeten.
Basically, Sanders says your last meal should be around 3 hours before bedtime. And Shapiro points out that our metabolism drops 10% to 15% during the night and can reach even a 35% decrease dung the cycle of your deepest sleep.
The nutritionists agree that if you are one who eats large meals too close to bedtime, you could try waking up earlier; making your eating schedules a bit earlier. In fact, they suggest that getting on a schedule can help drastically help with nighttime eating. They suggest that for overall health, weight, and hormone production, the best formula is suggested like this:
7 a.m. – Wake up
8 a.m. – Breakfast
12 p.m. – Lunch
3 p.m. – Snack
7 p.m. – Dinner
9 p.m. – Nutrient-dense snack (if required)
Remember that many people cut calories during the day because they are busy and occupied with other things besides food, but often, this can cause you to be hungry at night. It is advised that you eat regularly throughout the day and eat a balanced dinner. Just be sure to eat your heaviest meal three hours beforehand so you don’t have to deal with indigestion, discomfort, or heartburn.
Here are our top 5 healthy food faves before bed and why
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup has always been the ultimate comfort food. Comforting foods can help the nervous system to slow down and relax; giving the body a sense of safety. Preferably make your own because a lot of the store-bought ones have too much salt and that can keep you wide awake.
Eat them boiled up and not French fried! They help you sleep better. A registered dietitian, Lisa Mastela, says sweet potatoes have plenty of vitamin B6 in them; they boost the mood. Eating them relaxes you for sleep.
Eating warm white rice before bed can definitely decrease how long it takes to fall asleep. It’s high in carbs which are known to promote fullness ad restfulness. White rice also has a high glycemic index, which is thought to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Just a one-cup serving though!
Tucking into a small fatty fish dinner before bed ensures a good night’s rest. Fatty fish like sardines, herring, and salmon, contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. These nutrients are all important for the regulation of serotonin, which regulates sleep.
Fruits like Kiwis, Cherries, etc.
Kiwis are also very rich in carotenoids, antioxidants, and vitamins C and E, as well as containing the familiar hormone, serotonin. Sometimes we have sleep problems from a deficiency of folate, but kiwis are rich in folate. One study from the pages of the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank an ounce of cherry juice each day reported that they slept soundly and longer compared to those who didn’t.
Dreams can be good friends by what you eat
Lots of people claim a glass of warm milk that’s been laced with two teaspoons of honey makes a very effective nightcap. One person has written, “I was looking for something to help me sleep nights and I found this old recipe: Take a half-tsp of marjoram in one cup of hot milk at bedtime.”
It’s that simple!