Do you ever have those late nights when you can’t help but toss and turn in bed while your empty stomach growls ferociously at you? Yea I know, it sucks. So you get out of bed and eat. But what to eat? It can get complicated because there are foods that may sound great and healthy in theory, but they may cause restless sleep or affect your weight.
Sugary Cereal: Cereal may just be the love of my life. I eat it in the mornings, evenings, and even in the wee hours of snack time. While it may sound like the safest late night munchie, people often do not realize the amount of sugar that is packed into the colorful, cartoon covered boxes. So let’s replace it, instead of grabbing the box of our favorite little tiger’s frosted flakes at 2am, grab a box of whole grain cereal which emphasizes fiber and has less than 250 calories per cup.
Dark Chocolate: Yes, even dark chocolate, often seen as the most healthy option of all chocolates, can be bad for you if you are eating it right before falling asleep. The issue with chocolate (milk or dark) is that it contains caffeine which is a stimulant which wires up your central nervous system, making it difficult for you to get a good night’s rest.
Spicy Snacks: As you know, when we sleep we are slowing down all of our bodies’ processes, including digestion. So when you get up to eat some spicy food in the middle of the night your body is pushing extra hard to digest that food. Also spicy food makes it difficult to fall back asleep because it stimulates your other senses because of the rush of endorphins. So when you try to fall back asleep you may get some heartburn and some tummy troubles.
Fatty foods: Oh boy, I cannot even count the amount of times I have woken up in the middle of the night and grabbed a cold slice of leftover pizza from the night before, when I walked across the street to the local pub for some fries, or when I try to satisfy my ridiculous sweet tooth with one or four scoops of ice cream. I know those late night cravings, and I am guilty of it. But, I also know how sluggish I feel the morning after. What happens is that when you are sleeping your body is trying to relax and then you eat all this fatty foods and now your body has to work super hard to digest it all.
I am by no means saying that you are never allowed to eat a snack or two in the middle of the night! Live your life, have fun, and eat when you are hungry! But also remember moderation. It is important to not turn a one or two nights of waking up and eating a bowl full of sugary and fatty food into a week ordeal.