What to eat before bed
It’s after 8 pm and you can feel your stomach grumbling. Should you stick it out until morning or head to the kitchen? Night-time eating tends to get a bad reputation – people often worry it causes weight gain, heartburn, indigestion or all three. But it all depends on what you reach for, says nutritionist Nishta Saxena.
Saxena says there isn’t a clear-cut time of day that we have to stop eating. Studies have found that it’s not when you’re eating, but how much and what you’re eating which matters. Super salty snacks at the end of the day can, for example, make you dehydrated and interrupt your sleep – and they’re not the only culprits that can affect whether you have a good night’s rest.
In general, it’s best to eat small portions before bed. Also try to stay away from foods high in protein or fat, which can be harder for our bodies to digest and can interrupt the natural cadence of our systems, which slow down for the night by producing sleep-inducing hormones like melatonin. Excessive sugar can also act like a stimulant – a bad choice if you’re trying to catch some Zzzs.
Saxena suggests eating something that’s high in carbohydrates, which can promote sleep and help you to relax. This is because carbs don’t require as much blood flow or work from your body to digest and are therefore unlikely to interrupt your sleep. If you find yourself with an after-dinner case of the munchies, follow these tips on what to eat before bed.
Kiwis can help to promote sleep because they are rich in serotonin and antioxidants (such as Vitamins C and E). Serotonin helps to make you feel relaxed and certain antioxidants have sleep-promoting qualities. Plus, these fuzzy fruits are extremely high in vitamin C and our bodies can digest them quickly, says Saxena. They also support heart and digestive health as well as natural immunity.
Tart cherries and tart cherry juice contain concentrated amounts of melatonin, a hormone that helps your body regulate sleep-wake cycles, says Saxena. Studies show that they can help to reduce insomnia, plus they also contain other sleep-inducing agents like tryptophan (a precursor of serotonin). Since tart cherries can be a little bit harder to find than other fruits, Saxena suggests keeping some in your freezer and using them to make a smoothie.