Sometimes food myths are thrown around and it’s hard to know whether it’s even okay to eat before bed or not, let alone what foods are suitable as a late-night snack. That being said, it’s okay to eat a snack before bed if you’re feeling peckish, but it’s important not to go overboard. If you do, you will put your digestive system to work and could make you uncomfortable. So if you can get your portion sizes spot on, then all you need is these tips below…
Sounds complex right? It’s not too bad really… it’s essentially an amino acid that is part of our diets. Tryptophan specifically is a sleep-encouraging amino acid, which is found widely across produce such as almonds, eggs, bananas, milk and turkey. Now it makes sense why we were given warm milk before bed as kids, or why we get so tired after a huge roast dinner at Christmas!
Not only do bananas and almonds contain tryptophan, but they also have a supply of magnesium. It’s said that magnesium also helps you sleep better too, making these snacks the ultimate go-to’s for that boost of extra sleepiness. To go even further, almonds contain a healthy dose of melatonin as well which is a hormone that regulates sleep. It makes more sense why everyone raves about almonds now, doesn’t it?
This one’s a bit easier to grasp as carbohydrates are a staple in everyone’s diets. They’re known to be great with assisting sleep, especially something like oats. For starters, it contains melatonin and we know that’s a good thing. But aside from that, it’s rich in fibre, minerals and vitamins which help with getting off to sleep. However, be careful what you have with your oats, as a usual spoon of sugar or jam could outweigh all of the sleepy benefits it has!
A quick tip: no matter what carbs you decide to delve into, make sure they don’t have any hidden sugar/caffeine in them. Also, if you eat too much then your digestive system may be doing overtime and you might be too uncomfortable to sleep.
Foods that are high in fat, despite being one of the three essential macronutrients in our diet, are not so good to have before we go to sleep. Foods like fast foods, cheese, red meats and more are harder to digest, which could make us too uncomfortable to hit the hay at night.
Maybe it’s common knowledge not to eat cheese before we go to sleep, but the science as to why probably isn’t. Not only are hard cheeses high in fat, it also contains tyramine which is an amino acid that isn’t beneficial like tryptophan is – so don’t get them mixed up! Tyramine will actually make you feel more awake than tired, so it’s good to stay clear of cheese before bed.
Although not strictly food, it’s good to be aware of what the effects are for both of these. Caffeine is fairly self-explanatory: it’s a stimulant and can have you feeling awake for up to 10 hours after you consume it. So we know to avoid that one in the hours before bedtime, but it’s certainly common to have a glass of wine before we go to sleep. Although alcohol makes it easier for you to drift off in bed as much as a comfortable mattress does, it prevents us from spending the time we need in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is the most restful stage of the sleep cycle, so drinking alcohol can make you feel more tired in the morning.
So there you have it, our tips for late-night snacks that will help you drift to sleep easier and feel more rejuvenated in the morning! Do you have any other snacking tips for the evening? Let us know in the comments…