It's 11pm and you had dinner at 6pm. You tiptoe to the fridge with a rumbling tummy and try to find a snack. The only problem is, you don't want to destroy your diet - you've been so good all day.
I think we can all relate to having the late-night munchies, but did you know that depriving yourself of that snack might actually be BAD for your health?
For starters, a hungry tummy is likely to make you restless, which causes poor sleep patterns. Studies show that sleeping fewer than five hours a night can actually increase your chances of gaining weight. Huh. Who'd have thought that eating could help you lose weight.
If that wasn't enough reason to indulge in a pre-bedtime snack, research also shows that sleep deprivation triggers hormones that make you hungrier and more likely to make unhealthy food choices for breakfast.
But does that mean just any food will do for a snack? Not quite. You'll want to pick a food with a high protein content to "stimulate protein synthesis in the body and helps to grow muscle."
Here's some ideal bedtime snacks that will help you lose weight and boost your overall health:
1. Greek Yogurt
Due to its high protein content, Greek yogurt is perfect to eat right before bed. Go for the low-sugar variety if you want even more benefits.
Bananas are a rich source of potassium, which is a muscle relaxant. They also contain other natural sleep aids and don't have a crazy amount of calories.
3. Peanut on Whole Grain Toast
This is an ideal snack before you hit the sack because not only is whole grain bread filling, but it's also packed full of protein and an amino acid that acts as a sleep aid.
Maybe eating food just when your body is about to burn fewer calories seems counter-intuitive, but it's important to remember that eating at the right times is just as important as what you eat. The uncomfortable feeling of being hungry can plague you all night long, causing irregular sleep patterns.
A small snack can help you control and lose weight, so long as it isn't high in fat and sugar. If you're unsure what foods qualify, think of simple foods high in protein that aren't difficult to digest.
Snacking on almonds, pistachios, and other nuts is a great idea if you're just about to sleep. Not only do they contain protein, but they also are high in magnesium: a great natural sleep aid!
5. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is mostly seen as a treat, and an unhealthy one at that, but dark chocolate has a host of benefits. Eating dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more can increase the production of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and lower blood pressure.