The Benefits of Eating Before Bed
Wait... what?! Yes, through various studies, it is suggested that a supply of good nutrients at bed-time can promote weight loss AND mental wellness. The most important thing is what you are eating and how much, not necessarily when you eat.
So what should you eat? Focus on snacks that are healthy and high in protein, this will help with muscle recovery and metabolic health. Avoid anything processed, high in sugar, or fried. Some great night time snacks could be turkey, tuna, peanut butter and apples (or another fruit and vegetable), cottage cheese, or a healthy cereal selection with milk.(See below for a larger list of healthy options)
When you get those late night munchies next time, don't stress, eat healthy, be happy, sleep well!
Fall Asleep More Quickly & Feel Better
That's right! By feeling full, you'll fall asleep faster, sleep longer and your body gets the nutrients it needs for a good nights rest. I think we all have experienced this exact comatose situation after eating a huge meal -- think of the last Thanksgiving when you ate to your hearts content! In Hawaiian culture, they actually have a "Eat Till You Sleep" mentality -- they knew the secret to better sleep this entire time!
You can get this comatose effect with comfort foods too. If you opt for some unhealthy alternatives, moderation is key. Comfort foods can help can also boost your "mental wellness".
Foods that are rich in proteins and/or carbs and great to eat before bed. Here's a list of foods that are healthy and help you get Zzz's.
- Fruits and veggies (Apples, Figs, Watermelons, Sweet potato, Prunes, Bananas)
- Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Cashews
- String Cheese
- Herbal Teas
- Dark Chocolate
The Drawbacks of Eating Before Bed
There aren't many disadvantages to eating before bed anymore, such as the old idea that you would gain weight from "slower metabolism" which was discredited in 2015. The current consensus between experts now is that your metabolism is just as active when you asleep. Eat healthy foods, eat in moderation.
Acid Reflux and Indigestion
Eating right before bed may cause acid reflux and other stomach-related issues for some people. This happens for a variety of reasons: type of food, underlying health issues, and overeating.
The type of food you eat at night is important. You're going to lay down, and spicy food for example, contains a compound called capsaicin, which slows digestion which is believed to cause reflux. The important thing I've discovered is to find your own triggers. Here are common foods that have been known to cause acid reflux are:
- Spicy Foods,
- Citrus Fruits
- Tomato Sauce
- Green Tea
For people that overeat, going right to sleep afterwards could spell trouble. Not only is it an unhealthy habit, but when you go to sleep afterwards, gravity starts working against you. Your body is no longer getting help to move the food through your digestive system and acid can easily move upwards, causing heartburn or reflux.
Here are some great ways to prevent acid reflux and indigestion.
Change Eating Habits
If you have frequent occurrences, eat 3 hours before or a smaller meals
If you have a BMI over 25, look into eating healthier and exercise
Studies shown a 40% improvement
Avoid Certain Foods
Tomatoes, Spicy Foods, Soda, Lemons, Dairy Products, Alcohol
Use A Body Pillow
Using a body pillow and laying on your left side helps acid to pass through the lower part of your esophagus.
The most important takeaway is take care in what you are eating and how much -- than when you eat. Eating before bed is not an issue and can be beneficial -- so stick stick to healthy foods, in moderation, and see what works for you. Everyone is different, listen to your body and you'll find the recipe to success.