Feeling a bit hungry late at night? There’s no need to deny yourself a late-night snack if you're feeling hungry, however you still need to make the right food choices when it comes to late night eating. Choosing the worst late night snacks will not only disrupt your sleep but will also add a lot of unneeded calories to your day.
There really isn’t any conclusive research when it comes to the worst late night snacks, however, anecdotal evidence does suggest that certain foods eaten late at night are more likely to be “sleep stealers” rather than “sleep promoters”, says Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D., CEO of the National Sleep Foundation.
Not only can eating snacks just before bed disrupt your sleep but it can also damage the tissue in your esophagus and throat. I’m sure you have all heard of acid reflux caused when the digestive juices back up into the throat and chest causing a burning sensation. Well there is also a condition called “silent reflux” that can occur whilst you sleep. “Silent reflux” is slightly different to common heartburn, however, it has the same cause but without the typical symptoms. Suffers get chronic coughs, sore throats, and difficulty swallowing, all of which can be potentially avoided by not eating food late at night.
Foods To Avoid At Night – 8 Worst Late Night Snacks
So before you run off and grab the nearest, and tastiest-looking item in your fridge find out which foods you should try and avoid eating before going to sleep - here are 8 types of foods to avoid at night and why.
A cup of coffee can keep you tossing and turning in your bed due to its temporary stimulating effect. Not only that but coffee is inherently acidic and the caffeine will also generate additional stomach acid. It has been shown that drinking coffee before you sleep can affect the type of sleep you get.
Limiting the amount of deep sleep you get per night can hinder cognitive functions as well as contribute to daytime tiredness and your overall mood. If you really must use your best coffee maker to brew a coffee late at night try a decaf as it typically has lower acid levels than regular coffee.
Cheese is actually good for your health and it can even help to promote a good night’s sleep because it contains the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan. However, eating high-fat cheese can make your digestion terribly uncomfortable. If you really cannot go to bed without you’re cheese fix, try hard cheese varieties such as Swiss cheese or Parmesan as they have less of a reflux effect than other softer types such as Mozzarella and Feta, but remember moderation is the key.
Having an alcoholic beverage before bed might make you feel drowsy and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, however, having alcohol before bed does not produce revitalizing sleep. A few drinks before bed will typically reduce REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which influences your memory and serves restorative functions.
But wait there is more; an alcoholic drink before you sleep relaxes the valves that connect to the esophagus and stomach so your body will have a hard time keeping the food where it belongs.
I’m sure you have heard that chocolate is actually good for you and contains antioxidants. However eating chocolate (especially dark chocolate) before bed is not a good idea if you want a good night’s sleep. Chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and the lesser-known stimulant called theobromine which will keep you awake and alert, which is not ideal when you are trying to sleep.
Certain types of chocolate such as milk chocolate contain less stimulants but they come loaded in fats and sugars which not only pile on the calories, but can also relax the valves too, causing acid reflux.
Sodas are bad for your health, fact. Sodas are not only filled with empty calories, but the high amount of sugar in many carbonated drinks causes your energy levels to spike which in-turn disrupts your sleep. Sodas are also more acidic than anything found in nature which will cause acid reflux once you fall asleep. But wait there’s more; certain artificial sweeteners and sugars found in a can of soda can give you gas and bloating, plus expect an increase of stomach pressure due to it being carbonated.
6. Red Meat
Munching on a steak or other red meats will most certainly keep you tossing and turning in bed and should be on your list of foods to avoid at night. Red meat takes time to digest, due to their high protein and fat content. Your body’s digestion process (trying to break down read meat) will keep you awake and feeling sluggish the next morning.
A glass of apple or orange juice before bed can cause digestive problems due to the high acidic content these juice contain. Some people might be fine having a juice late a tonight but it depends on the person.
If you suffer from acid reflux nuts should be one of the foods to avoid at night. Even though certain nuts generally contain a healthy fats, fat is fat, whether saturated or unsaturated When it comes to acid reflux. Peanuts, Cashews, Macadamias, and Walnuts are the worst late night snacks but if you cannot resist a handful of nuts before bed almonds and pistachios aren’t quite so bad.
Ok, So What Are The Best Foods To Eat Late At Night?
Sometimes you are so hungry before bed you simply cannot sleep due to your stomach rumbling, right. So what are the best foods to eat late at night? Basically anything that is low in acid such as a bowl of low-sugar cereal with low-fat milk or a banana should be fine and will keep you full without loss of sleep.