We’ve all been there. Crawling into bed, tummy rumbling, and hunger nagging. Then the thought creeps into your head, go get a bowl of cereal… or ice cream… or both.
Truly, falling asleep while hungry may be one of the worst feelings around, but is a snack before bed worth it? The evidence is mixed (like with most topics) but the good news is – “no carbs after 6” may be a myth.
Trying to decide whether or not to reach for some pre-snooze food? Consider the facts:
- Going to bed hungry may worsen insomnia and restlessness, because of a drop in blood sugar. So grabbing a healthy snack to munch on may actually aid in sleep quality.
- While sleeping, your body should be resting – not digesting. So instead of chowing down on a large meal pre-sleep, reach for something easily digestible and small.
- Your basal metabolic rate during sleep is similar, if not the same, as during the day. So yes, even while sleeping you’re burning calories.
- Check your caloric intake. If you’re short on calories or protein for the day, it’s better to meet those needs than to go to bed hungry.
- Regularly eating more calories than you burn causes weight gain – regardless if it’s at night or during the day. So if cravings hit late at night but you’ve already eaten enough for the day, grab a glass of water or a mug of tea to try and fill up, calorie free.
- Truth is: more research is needed to determine whether eating at night causes more weight gain than eating during the day.
Bottom line: your body needs food to function, and it’s incredibly skilled at letting you know when it’s low on energy. So listen to your body. If your head hits the pillow and your stomach can’t shut up, don’t feel bad about grabbing a high protein snack, like cottage cheese or scrambled eggs. Your body and sleep will thank you.
With that said, scarfing down a big bowl of ice cream right before bed probably isn’t serving you or your health. So be smart, but don’t fret. Oh, and eat those late night (healthy) carbs if you need them.