Calling all bedtime snackers! You’ve likely heard many things about eating before bed and how it affects your body. Snacking at night has been linked to acid reflux, blood sugar levels, nightmares, weight gain and weight loss (go figure).
With all these claims, it’s hard to tell which ones to believe. Truthfully, the effects of nighttime munching are different for everyone; so they’re all right and wrong at the same time!
Considering all these factors, there are some foods that are known to have certain effects if you eat them before laying down for the night.
Bedtime Snacks to Avoid
It’s been said that spicy foods cause nightmares because they take more energy to digest and they heat the body’s temperature. You may have guessed that sugary foods can keep you awake longer, but they can cause bad dreams, too. In fact, foods high in carbohydrates like pasta and bread can do the same thing because these carbs convert to sugar once they’re in your system.
It’s also wise to avoid greasy take-out and junk food since they can be difficult and uncomfortable for your body to digest. You might even wake up with a bad belly, and no body wants that!
Snacks You Should Try Instead
Look for foods that contain melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, calcium, and vitamin B6. These vitamins and minerals cause nice little reactions in the body that help you relax and let your brain know it’s bedtime. To simplify an endless list of food items, we gathered three important groups that will help.
The best fruits known to help you drift into slumber are bananas and cherries. Cherries are bursting with melatonin, and bananas have melatonin, magnesium, and potassium which all benefit you.
Having said this, apples have enough sugar to keep you awake, so perhaps avoid that one.
#2: Nuts and Seeds
Different nuts have varying beneficial nutrients like calcium, magnesium and more. If a handful of nuts and seeds sounds boring, try to get a little creative. Nut butters count — try combining peanut butter and bananas!
#3: Dairy Products
Have you ever been told to drink a warm glass of milk before bed?
It’s a common wives tale that may have more to do with psychological effects in the same way that a warm bath before bed gives us routine; but like many other dairy products it does contain tryptophan. Cheese and yogurt are good options, too.
In summary, bedtime snacks can affect us in several ways as we sleep. It’s good practice to eat small portions if you do choose to eat late, and choose simple foods that are easy to digest.