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The Truth About Eating Before Bed

The Truth About Eating Before Bed

Odds are that you’ve been told to avoid snacking before bed. But is this advice really legitimate? Here’s the truth about snacking before bed so that you can fall asleep and wake up feeling your absolute best: 

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The Pros and Cons of Snacking Before Bed

Snacking before bed is definitely a controversial topic. On one side, you have popular diets like intermittent fasting that discourage eating anything after a certain time. On the other side, you have your growling stomach. So is snacking before bed really that big of a deal? Here are some pros and cons that you should know about: 

Pros

  • There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep when you’re hungry. As a result, snacking before bed can help satisfy your hunger and make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep since you’re not tossing and turning in bed as your stomach growls. 
  • Snacking before bed can actually help you lose weight if you do it correctly. This is because incorporating a structured and healthy snack into your nightly routine can discourage grazing and help you feel more satisfied and less likely to binge eat. 
  • Snacking before bed can also help stabilize your blood sugar in the morning since your body now has an additional energy source that it can use to get your bodily systems through the night without going into overdrive.

Cons

  • If you’re not careful, snacking before bed can actually make you gain weight. After all, you’re adding extra calories into your diet. And sometimes, people snack before bed not because they’re hungry — but because they’re bored watching television or scrolling through their phones. In this case, these unnecessary calories should definitely be avoided. 
  • Snacking before bed can contribute to gastrointestinal issues. This is because if you lay down right after eating, it’s easier for that food to come back up into your esophagus and cause painful heartburn that can make it difficult for you to sleep. 
  • In addition to potentially causing heartburn, snacking itself can also make it difficult for you to sleep depending on what you eat. This is because people tend to reach for sugary snacks before bed that can actually end up giving them an energy boost and make it impossible to fall asleep afterward. 

Based on the information we’ve gathered so far, it’s clear that snacking before bed isn’t inherently bad. Instead, it really depends on how you go about it. The most important factor relates to the actual food items you’re consuming in addition to when you’re consuming them. 

Foods That You Shouldn’t Eat Before Bed

The good news is that if you’re hungry, you should feel free to snack before bed. The bad news is that the first thing you find in your pantry might not be the best bedtime snack. So which foods should be avoided before bedtime? Here are some examples of things to stay away from: 

  • Sugary foods: Sugary foods will give you an energy boost that will make it hard for you to fall asleep. As a result, you should avoid sweets like candy, cookies, pastries, and ice cream. 
  • Salty foods: Salty foods can cause you to become dehydrated as you sleep. So if you don’t like waking up feeling parched for water, you should avoid salty foods like chips, pretzels, and salted nuts. 
  • Fried foods: Fried foods can take a long time to digest and should not be eaten before bed. Doing so can cause painful heartburn and indigestion that can make your night absolutely miserable. For this reason, you should avoid fried foods like chicken fingers, french fries, and mozzarella sticks. 
  • Fatty foods: Fatty foods can also take a long time to digest and come with a higher risk of heartburn. Make sure to avoid fatty foods like cheeseburgers, pizza, and cake. 
  • Spicy foods: Spicy foods are known to trigger gastrointestinal issues including heartburn and indigestion. These issues can be exacerbated by lying down so try to avoid spicy foods like spicy chips, dips, and peppers. 

Foods That Are Good to Eat Before Bed

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Now that you know which foods to avoid eating before bed, we need to talk about foods that you can eat to help satisfy your hunger and give you a good night’s sleep. Here are some examples of things that are safe to eat before bed: 

  • Fruits and veggies: Most fruits and veggies are safe to eat before bed since they are low in calories and free of unhealthy fats and artificial sugars. Specifically, figs, lettuce, sweet potatoes, kale, kiwi, and pineapple have sleep-inducing properties that make them perfect bedtime snacks. 
  • Nuts: Nuts are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein — making them great bedtime snacks. Just make sure to avoid salted varieties of delicious nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. 
  • Dark chocolate: Believe it or not, but dark chocolate is actually safe to eat before bed! This is because, unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate isn’t loaded with sugars and saturated fats. Instead, it has healthy antioxidants and minerals — including magnesium — that can help promote better sleep. 

Final Thoughts on Snacking Before Bed

So before you feel like you have to go to sleep hungry or decide to reach for a bag of chips to snack on before bed, consider a healthier snack option like Bougie Bakes

Sources:

Is Eating Before Bed Good for You, or Bad? | Healthline

Nighttime GERD, Heartburn and Sleep | WebMD

The Alarming Truth About How Sugar Ruins Your Sleep | The Guardian

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