Sometimes it’s hard to resist having a late night snack right before bed. Maybe you ate dinner hours ago and are craving something salty or sweet, and just have to have a little something before you go to sleep. However, doing so can have some negative effects on your body such as weight gain or sleeping difficulties. Here are some of the reasons you may find yourself commonly hungry when the sun goes down.
As obvious as it may seem, you may not be eating enough during the day time, and that could be why you find yourself hungry at night. It may help to eat a larger lunch, and a smaller dinner that’s packed with protein and fiber to keep you full for longer.
Eating an excess of processed and sugar rich foods can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate. When these levels drop, you may experience intense cravings for sugary or salty snacks that aren’t the best to eat before bed. Try limiting the amount of added sugar you eat for a few days to see if cravings decrease.
Are you having a particularly difficult or stressful time at work or school? Do you find yourself typically reaching for a bag of chips or a tub of ice cream when you late-night snack? Your body may be experiencing elevated levels of cortisol, which can occur as a result of stress. This hormone tends to make us crave some pretty bad foods, and that craving combined with a stress filled day can result in some not so great habits. Try new ways for coping with stress such as a caffeine free tea, or a soothing bath before bed. Even doing some meditation or yoga stretches before bed can be a great way to alleviate stress and help you avoid late night snacking.
However, if you do find yourself needing something to satisfy your hunger before you get some shut eye, there are some foods you should keep in mind. Reach for a snack that’s rich in protein, which is less likely to cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Greek yogurt or an apple with peanut butter are good options, as well as a protein shake or bar. Also, try to keep your late-night snack under 200 calories and if possible consume your snack at least one hour before going to bed. Keep in mind that if this is a frequent habit of yours that it may take some time to successfully cut it out. Stick with these tips for a restful and healthier night’s sleep.
Written by GUADS staff member Emily