Most people will say that snacking before bedtime is bad for you and will lead to weight gain. And while there may be some truth to this, making it taboo will only make you to want to snack even more! Instead of starving yourself (which by the way is not great if you want a long and restful sleep), allow yourself a light snack if you feel hungry. The secret is in knowing the right foods to eat and making allowances in your diet if you know that you are prone to a midnight fridge raid.
Below are some great snack options to have 45mins- 1 hour before bedtime...
Choose between a handful of almonds or opt for almond butter (on whole grain bread/ crackers), either way it is a great snack to have before bedtime. Almonds are protein-rich and a good source of fibre. They are sure to satisfy your hunger while providing you with a solid dose of magnesium. This mineral is associated with relaxing the muscles so it can help you drift off into a restful slumber.
As we all know by now, bananas are packed with potassium and magnesium. The NHS has also stated that they are a source of tryptophan which converts to serotonin in the brain, helping to promote a calming and sleep-inducing state. It can be used to combat insomnia and many sufferers of sleep disorders rate bananas highly among alternative treatment methods. Bananas also contain vitamin B12 which is associated with stress reduction. As stress is a leading cause of sleep disorders, this makes it the perfect bedtime snack.
If you keep the portion size down, slow release carbohydrates are a great pre-bedtime snack. Avoid topping your oatmeal with sugar or sweeteners and opt for banana slices or sliced cherries for an extra melatonin boost.
A nice warm bowl of oatmeal is a ‘comfort food’ but without the guilt.
The perfect bedtime treat if you want to promote muscle growth. Cottage cheese contains casein protein which is a slow digesting protein source. It produces a stable elevation of amino acids that lasts for up to 7 hours making it ideal to prevent muscle breakdown during the night.
Fibre is essential to weight maintenance and digestive health. It helps you to feel full and avoid digestive upset which may be keeping you awake at night. Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are high in fibre and are a perfect bedtime snack for those who crave something sweet ;).
If you are looking for the best drinks to wash down your delicious snacks or you would prefer a warm drink as opposed to a snack, chamomile or green tea are great choices. Green tea contains theanine which helps you fall asleep. Chamomile tea contains chrysin which helps alleviate anxiety, relax muscles and induce a more refreshing sleep.
Llewellyn W, Sport Supplement Reference Guide, 2009.