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What to Eat Before Bed (and What NOT to Eat)

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If you're looking for a peaceful night's sleep, avoid these 6 foods before bed and eat these 4 foods instead.

 

Did you ever see  those advertisements on the back of the bathroom stall doors?  Some are for tattoo parlors (I’m seriously thinking of getting one), physical therapy, and even for tanning beds.  And you know the Luna carpeting, 877-421-LUNA.

Lately I’ve seen more health club ads.

Many I agree with such as eliminating sugary caffeine beverages to prevent diabetes (Amen!).

But to eat cottage cheese before bed?  Huh?

banana before bed, eating fruits at night, eating banana at night, best food to eat before bed

Is it Bad to Eat Before Bed?

Cheese, like other dairy products, does contain tryptophan, the make-you-sleepy amino acid, and it is a protein, too.   BUT if you are trying to keep things clean and maintain a healthy weight, I have better options for you.

We all know the bedtime snack no-nos such as alcohol, soda, coffee, spicy and fried foods plus the processed sugary foods like candy, ice cream, and even baked goods. 

Caffeine is a stimulant and will over-stimulate your nervous system hindering sleep. Alcohol will dehydrate you, and you might wake up in the middle of the night feeling thirsty and not getting enough sleep.

The spicy and fried foods can cause heartburn, bloating and excess amount of stomach acid which can interrupt sleep.

And sugar is meant to give you an instant boost of energy so indulging in the sweets isn’t the best idea before bed.

So what can you eat if you are in the snacking mood?

 

What to Eat Before Bed

5 Options of Best Food to Eat at Night:

1.  Sunflower seeds: Relax before bed with a sunflower seed snack. Full of the amino acid tryptophan, sunflower seeds can help you manage stress and will stimulate the chemicals in your brain that get you to doze off.  Just a handful will do.

2.  Valerian Tea:  A cup of valerian tea before bed is a centries-old practice. The natural compounds in valerian tea have been used as a sedative and may help reduce the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep.

3.  Banana and nuts:  A banana before bed is an excellent choice. Have half of a banana with a handful of your favorite nuts. You’re getting tryptophan and healthy carbs so it’s an excellent mix.

Bananas are chockfull of potassium and magnesium, which both help to relax your muscles to give you a peaceful night’s sleep. Bananas also have the added benefit of helping to lower your blood pressure while you sleep.

banana before bed, eating fruits at night, eating banana at night, best food to eat before bed

4. Crackers and nut butter: Get a few rice, flax or sprouted grain crackers and spread on some all-natural nut butter for a mix of complex carbs and protein with tryptophan.

I suggest trying these brands of crackers:  Mary’s Gone Crackers and Doctor Kracker.

5. Cherry Juice: One of the reasons cherry juice aids sleep is the melatonin content. This natural hormone in the body is important for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is found in cherries so drinking juice each day can boost the deep sleep craved by those suffering from insomnia. Here’s a juice recipe that you’ll love!

 

Another Tip:

Okay, you know this one…eat 3 hours before you go to bed. If you want a snack (usually that bowl of ice cream), it’s a sure sign you didn’t have enough to eat for dinner or the meal wasn’t balanced with a good protein (beans, quinoa), good carb (veggie), and a good fat (olive oil or avocado).  Try getting into a habit of not eating before bed so that you gorgeous body can get a break and help you sleep soundly at night. Also, eating so close to bedtime can be that hidden  habit causing weight gain.

 

Eat Protein Before Bed

It’s ideal to include protein in every meal, but save a good portion of it for your last meal of the day. Ideally 2-3 hours before bed. The reason being, sleep is regenerative.

A lot happens while you sleep especially that muscle is both lost and built during the sleep cycle.

The body rebuilds muscle through a process called protein synthesis. When you do physically demanding activities like working out, you essentially damage muscle tissue and, depending on the resources your body has to work with, it will either repair it or let it waste away.

If you go to bed without eating enough protein your body can’t produce enough protein synthesis to rebuild the muscle. If you do eat enough protein, your body will product enough protein synthesis and rebuild the damaged protein.

 

When and How Much Protein?

Save your largest serving of protein for the day for your last meal, 2-3 hours before bed, because it’s the last meal you will have for 6-8 hours.

Protein intake is different for everyone, but the more active you are, the higher your protein requirements are. A quick tip is to get 40-50 % of your daily diet to include protein sources.

Now that you know what the best food to eat before bed is, which snack will you try tonight?  

 

 

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2 Responses to What to Eat Before Bed (and What NOT to Eat)

justine

Thank you Lisa for writting this, as I often wonder what to nibble on that won’t ruin the days progress of clean eating. My gility pleaseure is a tablespoon of almond butter! Happy to see I’m on the right track. Now to add a little bit of a complex carb and it will be better.

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Justine, you are so welcome! It’s so confusing about the “eating before bedtime.” You guilty pleasure is sure a healthy one! You are rockin’ it, my love and excited to be with you! xo

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