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The Worst Snacks You Can Eat Before Going to Bed

The Worst Snacks You Can Eat Before Going to Bed

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It’s 9 p.m. You are faced with a familiar grumbling, and suddenly the itsy-bitsy voice that squeaks in your head says “feed me.” Again. So you reach into your cabinets or open the fridge, hoping something will call out to you.

The Worst Snacks You Can Eat Before Going to Bed

Just a nibble before bed, you think. Before you tear open that bag of chips, you may want to reconsider snacking before bedtime.

“Typically, snacking at night is not caused by hunger but, rather, boredom,” says Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian and the lead nutrition expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, a fresh meal delivery service in Illinois. “Additionally, the types of food that are snacked on are usually high-calorie, indulgent food items like ice cream, cake, and chips. Combine these two factors and it is very likely that the snacker is overconsuming total daily calories, thus resulting in weight gain.”

But it isn’t just your waistline you need to worry about when snacking at night.

“I advise against snacking near bed for reasons beyond the obvious (like weight gain): because of the effects it has on sleep and future diabetes risk,” adds Alyssa Cellini, nutritionist and co-founder of My Custom Cleanse, a personalized cleanse program based in New Jersey. “Sleep quality is highly affected by your circadian rhythm, so offsetting your insulin/cortisol in the night may cause you to toss and turn — or even hit snooze on your alarm in the morning. Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar swings and especially high insulin levels in the blood. So, pasta for lunch or two cookies near bed may have very different calories, but both elevate your insulin to the same point in your blood — overwhelming your cells and getting you one step closer to diabetes.”

However, it is important to remember that the calories in a sweet snack will remain the same whether you eat them at night or in the morning.

“It is incorrect to say that for all people eating at night or after a magic hour of the day (what about people with non-traditional work hours?) is bad for everyone,” says Joey Gochnour, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and personal trainer in Austin, TX, and the owner of Nutrition and Fitness Professional, LLC. “Many active people and athletes would not otherwise get enough calories into their diets, and having a small snack before bed with protein and carbohydrates may even help you get to sleep by releasing seratonin.”If you are going to snack before bed, you need to do it wisely.

If you are going to snack before bed, you need to do it wisely. That begins with having a hard stopping time, so your body has a chance to burn off the fuel you just harvested.

“A great rule of thumb is two hours [before bed],” advises Ana Goldseker, director of nutrition for Nava Health and Vitality Centers. “The body should have ample time to properly digest its last meal before going horizontal. You want the body to be resting at night, not digesting. Better yet, review your last meal and figure out why it wasn't satisfying. If you can take nighttime snacking out of the equation, even better!”

Make sure that if you do pick up a snack before bed, it isn’t one of these naughty nighttime noshes.

Alcohol and Caffeine

“The worst things you can consume before bed are anything with caffeine or alcohol,” advises Gochnour. “Both will disrupt the body from sleep. Alcohol may relax a person, but it will interfere with the stages of restorative sleep.”

Cakes and Cookies

“Eating cakes and cookies late at night spike your sugar, creating an intense hunger in the morning,” warns Goldseker. “Chocolate chip cookies are another late night no-no,” confirms Barrie Wolfe, a nutritionist with a private practice in Westchester County, New York. “They are loaded with fat, calories and sugar. The sugar and caffeine from the chocolate will make you feel hyper and make it that much harder to get a good night’s sleep.”

5 Worst Foods You Can Eat Before Bedtime

Avoid late-night dietary disasters that can ruin your physique and even your sleep. Here are the 5 worst offenders, and 5 great alternatives for when you've got the munchies.

While surfing through Colbert, Stewart, and Fallon, your stomach starts to rumble. There's no shame in giving in to a snack attack late at night we all do it. But if you don't tread lightly, you could easily blow up your physique.

That's because the wrong post-sunset snack choices can easily end up padding your midriff with flab and even jeopardize your night of restful sleep, which is essential for building muscle like a pro.

To avoid this pitfall, here are five of the worst snacks you can reach for when the late-night hunger pangs strike, and their smart alternatives to avoid a next-day food hangover.

8 Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime

If you're hankering for a bedtime snack or beverage, don’t just grab the first thing that sounds good. While some foods — a light, carby snack like crackers or an apple — can actually help your sleep, many others can disrupt your sleep, causing nightmares, an irritated tummy, insomnia and sleep-interrupting trips to the potty.

Related To:

Photo By: Nikolay Trubnikov/Thinkstock

Photo By: 8vFanI / ThinkStock


You might want to rethink that late-night order for pizza. for a lot of reasons. That cheesy topping might give you nightmares, according to a recent study, and the acidic tomato sauce can lead to tummy aches and 2 a.m. trips to the bathroom. Plus, pizza is really more than a bedtime snack eating a second dinner adds a lot of extra calories that you probably don't need.


Sugary Cereal

We get it. Sometimes a bowl of cereal at bedtime is just the thing. But you're better off sticking with a low-sugar, high-fiber kind, like Cheerios or bran flakes. Sugary cereals digest rapidly in your system, so the spike in blood sugar could throw off some of your sleep hormones, and low-fiber diets are linked to lighter sleep. Your best bet might be to forgo the food and just get some z's — when you're not getting enough sleep, you're more apt to seek energy by eating more food (especially sugar).

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods do more than stimulate your taste buds — they also can irritate your stomach (particularly problematic if you're prone to heartburn), which can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.

2. Chocolate

Why It's Not a Good Idea: Bad news, chocolate lovers. Snacking on a few squares of chocolate at night may be stunting your sleep. That's because, in addition to energizing caffeine, chocolate — especially dark chocolate — also contains large amounts of theobromine, which is a stimulant too, says Dr. Bazil. As a matter of fact, for some people, "the stimulants in that delicious dark chocolate dessert may be the equivalent of an espresso before bedtime."

What to Eat Instead: Stick to a small handful of low-sugar granola. Foods rich in complex carbs, like the oats in granola, can help make you drowsy. That's because carbohydrates raise insulin levels, which results in an increase of amino acids that are necessary to produce sleep neurotransmitters like serotonin, says Dr. Bazil.

10 Foods That Burn Fat While You Sleep

Try this simple recipe for a skinny banana split made with greek yogurt. This simple bedtime fat-burning snack combines the benefits of many of these incredible weight loss foods on this list.

To make this greek yogurt banana split all you need are the following ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana cut in half
  • 1/2 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
  • fresh berries
  • a tiny bit of maple syrup or honey for sweetness (optional)

So give this fat-burning banana split before bed a try and let us know how you liked it! If you’re still looking for more ideas on what to eat at night for weight loss, keep on reading!

One of the worst things you can do to your body is to go to bed hungry. While you may think it’s a good idea and will help you lose weight, as it turns out it can do more harm than good.

But that does not mean you can eat just about anything and still burn fat while sleeping. So if you are wanting to know which delicious foods speed up the metabolism without messing with your sleep, keep on reading.

Losing weight and losing fat comes down to being in a caloric deficit, but there are certain foods that can increase your metabolism, especially when you’re asleep and today I want to share with you my top thermogenic foods list that requires your body to work extra hard to burn them off and therefore can aid in weight loss.

The 5 Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

5. Ice Cream, Cookies, Cake… Anything With Lots of Sugar (Including Breakfast Cereal)

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, resist the urge to splurge right before bed. The extra sugar will cause a spike in your blood sugar, making your energy levels jump and then plummet.[i] This wacky energy rollercoaster is the last thing you need to help you fall asleep.

4. Spicy Foods

Bedtime is not the time to break out your favorite hot sauce … spicy foods can interfere with your sleep. One reason for this is indigestion, but there’s more to it than that. They may also raise your body temperature, which can lead to poor sleep quality. Research shows, too, that when men ate Tabasco sauce and mustard right before bed, they spent more time awake during the night and took longer to fall asleep.[ii]

3. Steak

A big juicy steak right before bed might sound tempting, but red meat takes a long time to digest. This means that when you should be sleeping, your body will have to be hard at work digesting this fatty, protein-laden meal. Not exactly a recipe for restful slumber …

2. Dark Chocolate

Ordinarily, dark chocolate is one of the best desserts to try, as it’s got the highest level of antioxidants of all types of chocolate. However, it’s also got the most caffeine, and if you eat it right before bed, well, you might as well just drink a cup of strong coffee along with it.

1. Citrus Fruits

Because citrus fruits are so acidic, they’re notorious for causing indigestion and heartburn — especially if you eat them and then go and lie down. Save your grapefruits and oranges for earlier in the day, and if you want fruit before bed, opt for cherries or a banana (see below).

14 Best Foods To Eat Before Bed For Better Sleep


Honey is a wonder food that just about makes everything better, and it is excellent for sleep too. It is quite a trendy recommendation to take a teaspoon of honey during troubled sleep to help ease you back into REM, and it works, because honey is the closest thing to a natural food sedative.

Honey promotes sleep in two main ways. First, this sweet liquid brings enough natural sugars to restock the glycogen levels in your liver, preventing any hunger triggers and turning off orexin, the hormone that keeps us awake.

Secondly, honey helps to slightly elevate the blood’s insulin levels, which leads to the release of melatonin, the sleep regulatory hormone and enhances the flow of tryptophan into the brain.

Warning: For infants and very young children, do not use raw honey, as this type of honey can often contain bacterial spores that are harmless to adults but can cause botulism poisoning in smaller children.

Furthermore, people with pollen allergies should avoid honey as it often contains pollen grains. Honey can also cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes.


L-Tryptophan Dosage For Sleep And Sleep-Related Disorders

Does Honey Help You Sleep?


Bananas are some of the cheapest and healthiest energy-boosting foods. Hence, it is no surprise that this magnesium-rich fruit often features in breakfast recipes to provide you with that oomph you need to start the day on a high note.

However, while it is pretty standard to add a banana to your morning routine, we recommend that you consider adding a couple to your nighttime regime as well. Magnesium helps to relax the muscles and reduce agitation, helping bring you to a relaxed state that works as well for sleep as it does for body exertion.

Bananas also contain melatonin and serotonin, both neurotransmitters that help to boost and regulate your circadian rhythms and help ensure a good night’s sleep. Furthermore, bananas also contain another vital compound, tryptophan, an amino acid that enhances the body’s production of serotonin.

Note: People with latex sensitivity have an increased chance of having allergic reactions to a banana.


Nuts are some of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet as they bring a healthy dose of many vital minerals and nutrients that help improve bodily functions. When it comes to boosting sleep, however, one of the best nuts you can choose is almonds.

Almonds are some of the best sources of magnesium, a vital mineral that helps to increase relaxation, reduce muscle tension, and set you in the mood for an excellent sleep.

Almonds are also a great source of melatonin, the primary sleep regulatory hormone.

Furthermore, almonds also pack many other vital nutrients like phosphorus, manganese, and riboflavin. Plus, with almonds, you also get a healthy dose of antioxidants, monounsaturated fat, and fiber.

Consequently, this wonder nut, in addition to improving overall health, can also help to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that often impacts sleep negatively. Almonds also help to reduce inflammation within the body.

Are you contemplating options for a healthy bedtime snack? Consider an ounce of almonds for some great tasting crunchy fun that enhances your sleep.


If you live in the U.S., the chances are that you have the grandmother’s tip that eating turkey is a great way to promote sleepiness before bed. And with spates of drowsiness that often follows Thanksgiving dinner, it is hard to fault that piece of folk advice.

However, turkey’s role as a soporific food does have some backing in science. Turkey is high in the amino acid tryptophan, which boosts the body’s production of sleep-regulating neurotransmitter melatonin, which helps induce drowsiness.

Furthermore, in addition to providing a healthy dose of body-building protein, turkey is also an excellent source of other vital minerals like riboflavin, selenium, and phosphorus. Hence, whether as a late-night snack or as part of any proper meal, turkey is an excellent addition to any diet plan.

Are you looking for a low-calorie yet nutritious nighttime snack? Kiwis fit the bill perfectly. Kiwi is a small tasty fruit that packs a lot of flavors and provides a host of health benefits.

When it comes to inducing slumber, kiwi’s potency comes from its high serotonin content, which helps to regulate your circadian rhythms and improve sleep quality. Kiwi also helps reduce inflammation and improve digestion, two factors that directly impact your sleep.

Furthermore, adding kiwis to your diet can also bring loads of other benefits thanks to its high supply of antioxidants, including carotenoids and vitamin C. Kiwis also contain vital nutrients like potassium, folate, and other crucial trace minerals.

Plus, kiwis are extremely low-calorie food, so you can add a couple to your nighttime routine without messing up your diet plan.

One excellent addition to any food plan is oily fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel. These types of fish are one of the best sources of vitamin D as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

With fish, their vitamin D content is the core reason why they are so good at promoting good sleep. Vitamin D is a primary stimulant of serotonin production in the body, and more serotonin translates to deeper sleep and increased ease of falling asleep.

The omega-3s in fatty fish also help to reduce inflammation and bolster the body’s natural defense against heart disease, while boosting brain function.


Another popular type of tree nut that makes for a healthy sleep-inducing snack is walnuts. Walnuts provide one of the best ratios of melatonin per ounce of any food types. Since melatonin is one of the core regulators of sleep and circadian rhythms in the body, it follows that walnuts are an excellent choice for late-night snacking.

In addition to being great for sleep, walnuts are also one of the more nutritious nuts, packing nutrients like omega-3 fatty acid, linoleic acid, and over 19 minerals and vitamins.

Also, since a single ounce of walnuts provides 4 grams of protein, the nut makes for a healthy mix of fat and protein that is great for staving appetite and reducing the chance of late-night binging.

Some studies also point to walnuts as excellent food for reducing cholesterol levels and boosting heart function.

Warning: Walnut can cause bloating or other mild allergic reactions in people with walnut or general nut sensitivity.

Chamomile Tea

It is a common practice among many older people to take cups of tea around bedtime, and they must be on to something because certain teas are excellent for helping you wind down. One such drink is chamomile tea, which can help relax your muscles and create a mild, soothing effect.

Chamomile tea works for sleep because it contains apigenin, an antioxidant that helps reduce insomnia, depression, and anxiety and helps to induce sleepiness.

Chamomile tea also helps to reduce inflammation, which can further enhance your ability to fall asleep quickly.

Considering adding chamomile tea to your bedtime routine? A cup of this refreshing tea an hour before sleeping can make all the difference you need.

Passionflower Tea

Another excellent addition to any nighttime routine is passionflower tea. This tea’s high concentration of flavonoid antioxidants helps to boost immune health, reduce heart disease markers, and reduce inflammation.

Passionflower tea’s sleep-inducing powers come in part from its apigenin content. Apigenin is a relaxing antioxidant that binds to specific brain receptors, stimulating them and evoking a calming effect across the entire body.


Are you looking for a crunchy late-night snack that won’t disrupt your sleep or your diet plan? One of the best options out there is chickpeas. Chickpeas are low on calories they digest quickly and fast and stimulate melatonin production, which helps you relax and regulates your sleep.

Also, chickpeas include a heavy dose of vitamin B6, which aids the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin and helps smoothen your sleep cycles.

Plus, these nuts are delicious. With chickpeas, you get a tasty lightweight replacement for unhealthy snacks while getting some essential sleep boosts. Don’t fancy all that crunchiness at night time? You can opt instead for hummus, which is mainly chickpeas with hints of lemon juice, olive oil, and tahini.


There is never a wrong time to have salads, and nighttime is a go as well. Salads are some of the healthiest food choices, packing a lot of fresh nutrient-rich foods, containing a decent selection of vitamins and minerals while posting a significantly lower calorie count than most other options.

Lettuce is one of the best parts of salad for your sleep as it contains lactucarium, an antioxidant that relaxes your muscles and creates a mild sedative effect.

Hence, a lettuce-heavy salad, complete with addons like berries, honey, and cottage cheese for an excellent taste, is up there as some of the healthiest and relaxing bedtime snacks.

Note: For nighttime salads, skip the oil dressings. Oil-heavy creams pack excessive amounts of fat that can cause slow digestion, troubled sleep, and mess with your weight goals. It would help if you also considered keeping other fat-heavy ingredients at a minimum.

For many Americans who grew up on years of a nighttime routine that included a glass of warm milk before bed, the nostalgia alone is enough to induce a sedative effect.

However, there is some science as to why milk evokes cozy feelings—milk pack copious amounts of melatonin and tryptophan. These two neurotransmitters are at the forefront of getting you to sleep and keeping your sleep cycles stable.

A glass of warm milk may be all you need to create an intense soothing session before hitting the haystack.

Oranges or Grapefruits

An absence of vitamin C in your diet can create several health issues that range from dire ailments like scurvy to sleep disruptions and even sleep deprivation. Vitamin C deficiencies are a common cause for constant waking up during the night.

To meet the recommended daily intake of 65-90 milligrams of vitamin C, you should consider adding oranges or grapefruits to your diet, and these delicious, juicy fruits also make a bomb late-night snack.

Vitamin C is also an excellent way for people with restless leg syndrome to get some relief and go to sleep quicker.

Peanut Butter

The devil always knocks at night with that incessant sweet tooth that has ruined many a diet plan. Next time you catch that craving for something sweet, instead of reaching for something unhealthy, consider opting instead for some good old plain peanut butter.

Peanut butter packs a decent dose of tryptophan, which boosts metabolism and promotes the release of sleep-inducing neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin.

With a small scoop of peanut butter to ease your cravings, you will be dozing off to wonderland in no time.

9 Things You Should Never Eat Or Drink After 9 PM

Your dreams should be sweet your before-bed diet shouldn't. Here's what to avoid before hitting the sack, and what to snack on instead.

Regardless of whether you're focused on maximum fat loss and getting ripped or trying to pack on pounds of lean muscle mass, certain foods should always be avoided after 9 p.m. Remember, you're about to embark upon an eight-hour fast otherwise known as sleep.

So if you do make a big dietary blunder, your body has no chance to compensate by burning additional calories.

Repeat these mistakes habitually, and while you may dream of having an amazing physique, what's happening inside your metabolic and endocrine systems is more like a nightmare. These 'don't-go-there' choices will not only wreck your appearance but also jeopardize your health.

The good news is that it's okay to have a late-night snack before bed -- as long as you choose foods that will promote lean-tissue building and fat loss. And while we tell you what to avoid in the article below, we also offer more physique-friendly alternatives.

1. Milk

Lactose is a sugar and you don't want large amounts hitting your system before bed.

While considered to be a relatively healthy source of protein and calcium, the problem with downing a glass of milk before bed is the lactose content that's found in it that will often keep many people up due to digestive issues.

If you're lactose intolerant, this is one beverage you'll definitely want to avoid.

What's more, lactose is a sugar and you don't want large amounts hitting your system before bed. If you're one of the three U.S. adults who are glucose intolerant, the resulting blood sugar crash could wake you in the middle of the night as your energy-starved brain screams, "Eat!"

What To Have Instead

Mix up a lactose-free protein shake. This will still provide the creamy taste that you're probably looking for while being even higher in protein content than milk. So you can build muscle while sleeping soundly.

2. Pasta

Pasta is one of the more calorie-dense carbohydrate sources around.

Next up on our list of foods to avoid before bed is pasta. If you're in mass-gaining mode, consuming some carbohydrates before can help out. Put there are much better choices than insulin-spiking pasta before bed.

Those calories will be highly prone to settle around your waist. Pasta is one of the more calorie-dense carbohydrate sources around you can easily consume 400 calories or more in a single pre-bed sitting.

Pasta does less damage earlier in the day -- for example, before or after your workout, when your body actually requires a much higher overall carbohydrate intake.

That's when your body is actually primed to use those carbohydrates to fuel your activity and replenish the high energy storage in the muscle cells. In this case, you're actually supporting your long-term goal.

What To Have Instead

If you're craving pasta before bed, go with some spaghetti squash instead. It'll give the same taste and texture as pasta with just a fraction of the carbs.

3. Chocolate

If you're sensitive to this stimulant, chocolate could rob you of the precious sleep.

Chocolate isn't just higher in sugar and fat content than other late-night snacks. It also contains caffeine. If you're sensitive to this stimulant, chocolate could rob you of the precious sleep you need to allow your body to recover maximally from your hard workout sessions.

As a result, you won't make the progress you otherwise could. Those who don't sleep enough on a regular basis are much likelier to suffer from increased cortisol levels, which will actually encourage muscle tissue breakdown.

What To Have Instead

Whip up your own high-protein chocolate brownie. Simply mix together one scoop of chocolate protein powder with one egg white and then place in the microwave for 90 seconds or so.

You'll have a protein-packed caffeine-free dessert that will kill any chocolate craving fast.

4. Pizza

With all those excess fat calories sitting around in the blood, what you have is a recipe for fat gain.

Dreaming of Domino's? If so, you aren't alone. Pizza ranks as one of the most craved foods by dieters and those focused on muscle building alike.

But, if you are going to have a cheat meal and indulge in a slice or two, make sure to do it earlier in the day than 9 p.m. or after.

Pizza contains far too many calories to have this close to bedtime what's worse, you'll get an extra does of both carbohydrates and a large amount of saturated fat which will just sit in your stomach as you lie awake in bed at night.

With insulin levels high from the carbohydrates that you've just consumed, and all those excess fat calories sitting around in the blood, what you have is a recipe for fat gain.

What To Have Instead

Down a few hard-boiled eggs instead. You'll feed your body muscle-building protein without a ton of excess empty calories to go along with them.

5. Chili

While chili can be healthy when made with the right mix of ingredients, too often, it's not.

Think serving up a hearty bowl of chili before bed is a great way to top off your nutrition with an ample source of protein and slow-burning carbs before bed?

Think again. While chili can be healthy when made with the right mix of ingredients, too often, it's not. Making matters worse after 9 p.m, chili is spicy, and may end up causing heartburn, a buzz kill for sound slumber.

Especially if chili peppers went into preparing the recipe, this is one that you'll want to avoid. Chili peppers can also boost the metabolic rate. During the day, that's great before bed, it could leave you lying awake, praying you could doze off to sleep.

What To Have Instead

If you need something warm and comforting before bed, serve up a small bowl of vegetable soup with added shrimp tossed in. The shrimp will provide the protein that your body needs before the overnight fast, and the vegetable soup is a lower-calorie alternative that will keep fat from accumulating.

6. Large Volumes Of Meat

Protein does take a lot of energy to digest and break down.

One habit that some people get into is filling their pre-bed meal with plenty of protein.

The logic is sound: You know your body will need amino acids to repair and build muscle tissue over the next eight hours, and you're going to be sure you supply it.

You also know that protein has little impact on blood sugar levels, making it a good night time dietary selection.

While both of the above statements are definitely true, if you're taking this advice to heart and serving up a full 8 or 12 ounces of chicken as David Letterman is going through his top-10 list, rethink your game plan.

Some protein is definitely required before bed and a must for preserving your lean muscle and promoting a speedy recovery, but overdoing it at this time is just going to force the body into an extensive digestive process which could cause you to lie in bed awake.

Protein does take a lot of energy to digest and break down so if you want to be sure that you get a peaceful slumber, so aim to keep it between 20 and 50 grams total before bed, depending on your overall protein requirements.

What To Have Instead

For best results, choose to fill those 20-to-50 grams up with turkey meat, which contain a sleep-promoting amino acid called tryptophan.

7. Chinese Food

If You Decide To Make A Late-Night Trip Down To Your Local Chinese Take-Out Place, You're Going To Be In For A Rough Night Ahead.

If you've got a hankering for ginger beef, and decide to make a late-night trip down to your local Chinese take-out place, you're going to be in for a rough night ahead.

This is yet another food that's important to avoid past 9 p.m. as the MSG found in it is going to stimulate the body in a similar manner as caffeine would, making it very difficult to fall asleep.

What's even worse, what you order will likely contain far too many carbs and fats to be part of a healthy diet plans. So your fortune cookie may read, "Soon your belly will be growing bigger."

What To Have Instead

If you still crave Chinese food, order up a small serving of whatever you like -- but request it without sauces, to avoid MSG, and have it served with steamed vegetables instead of white rice to reduce the carb count.

8. Celery

Celery acts as a diuretic in the body, meaning it makes you pee a lot.

If you're on a strict fat-loss diet, vegetables are likely the mainstay of your current diet plan. But that said, one particular vegetable that you'll definitely want to avoid before turning out the lights at night is celery.

Celery acts as a diuretic in the body, meaning it makes you pee a lot. Eat it before bed, and you may be running laps to the bathroom.

Since deep sleep releases a cascade of muscle-building and muscle-repairing hormones, waking up repeatedly will limit your gains.

Surely those green stalks could keep you looking like a beanpole.

What To Have Instead

Broccoli and cauliflower are full of healthy plant chemicals and low in carbohydrates, making them an ideal late-night snack.

They're also crunchy -- which may be why you were reaching for celery to begin with. These veggies scratch that itch, so to speak.

9. Fruit Juice

Finally, the last thing to avoid after 9 P.M. is fruit juice: orange juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice—pretty much you name it. These are all very acidic in the body and could cause heart burn in many susceptible individuals. Definitely something to avoid before bed!

This is probably a familiar refrain by now, but fruit juices contain lots of simples sugars, with little or no fiber to allow for a measured insulin release. Fruit juices will set up a nightmarish crash-and-spike blood sugar scenario during the night.

What To Have Instead

Berries rank low on the glycemic index and will provide the sweetness needed to kill your cravings.

Opt for some fresh berries mixed with ½ cup of cottage cheese. Berries rank low on the glycemic index and will provide the sweetness needed to kill your cravings.

The cottage cheese will supply the slow digesting amino acids for your muscles to feast on during the overnight repair period.


About the Author

Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark is a freelance health and fitness writer located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The Late Night Snacks That Won't Upset Your Stomach and Wreck Your Sleep

Late night snacking isn’t ideal , but sometimes you just gotta eat. If you have to work late, get up early, or just have a case of the late night munchies, these foods will put your hunger to bed without ruining your sleep with indigestion.

How to Kick Your Late Night Snacking Habit

Whenever I ask people what the most difficult habit is for them to break, late night snacking is…

Why You Shouldn’t Go to Bed Hungry

It can be tempting to forego eating before bed altogether and just wait to grab some breakfast when you wake up. Fact is, curbing your hunger will actually help you sleep better. The Sleep Medicine Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) explains :

A bedtime snack can help stabilize your blood sugar levels, particular if you eat dinner early or have a very active day. That’s important, because low blood sugar can keep you up at night, as well as make it difficult to wake up feeling energized the next morning. Your body needs energy, even for sleep.

If you don’t eat anything before bed in hopes of avoiding indigestion, not only will you be hungry, but there’s also a chance you won’t sleep well anyway. Definitely go for the snack, but make sure it’s the right kind of snack.

Foods that are Perfect for Late Night Snacking

The key to late night snacking is reaching for the right foods and keeping your portions under control. According to UPMC’s Sleep Medicine Center, there are some general rules of thumb you can follow when choosing the ideal bedtime food:

  • Stick to foods that contain a little protein and healthy fat.
  • Keep your portions small and shoot for under 200 calories.

Anything larger than that can make your gastrointestinal system work harder than it needs to while you’re trying to sleep. You want to make it as easy as possible to for your stomach to digest the food, so it relieves your hunger and breaks down without a fuss. What kind of foods fit into that range? Here are some of the best options out there:

  • Fat-free yogurt: Erin Coleman, Registered and Licensed Dietitian, suggests fat-free yogurt because it has dietary protein, probiotics, and other beneficial nutrients. The protein makes you feel full longer and is just the right size for holding your hunger off until morning. Just stay away from the really sugary stuff.
  • White meat: Joel Marion, a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN), recommends grabbing a piece of chicken or turkey meat. White meat digest slowly, has a very low insulin release, and contains glucagon, which helps the body break down stored carbs and fat for energy later. Red meat isn’t recommended.
  • Cottage cheese: Marion also recommends a small bowl of cottage cheese because it’s very slow digesting and contains some filling protein. Just like with the fat-free yogurt, keep your cottage cheese plain and sugar-free, save maybe a few berries if you want.
  • Whole wheat crackers: Women’s Health Watch at Harvard Medical School suggests that few whole-wheat crackers is enough to satisfy you until breakfast. You don’t want to wolf down the whole box, but a few crackers and some cheese or apple slices is more than enough to put you to sleep without aggravating your tummy.
  • Vegetables: According to Karen Borsari at Daily Burn , raw vegetables like cucumber, carrots, and broccoli are filling, low in calories, and provide complex carbohydrates. The slow break down of those complex carbohydrates will keep you full until morning and make you feel full enough to sleep. If you need to dip your veggies, go for a non-spicy hummus. Hummus contains vitamin B6, which is necessary for the production of melatonin.
  • BRAT foods: BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are widely considered the safest things to eat after you’ve been sick with food poisoning because they’re so easy to digest. That also makes them perfect for eating right before bed. Bananas help you fall asleep too , because they’re filled with potassium and magnesium, nutrients that double as natural muscle relaxants.

The bonus with these snacks is that they’re all pretty healthy options too, so you probably won’t be ruining your diet in the process. Stick with these foods and you’ll fall asleep and, more importantly, stay asleep.

The Best (and Worst) Foods for a Good Night's Sleep

Sometimes getting better sleep is just a matter of eating the right foods and avoiding certain…

Foods You Should Always Avoid Before Bed

Some foods will wreak havoc on your insides if you eat them before bed. Indigestion, heartburn, and even acid reflux are all side effects of misguided late night snacking, so it’s important you avoid certain foods. UPMC’s Sleep Medicine Center recommends avoiding these types of foods:

  • High-sugar, high-carbohydrate treats like cookies or ice cream
  • Greasy, fatty, and heavy foods
  • Large meals that make your digestive system work longer and harder

That means things like candy and fried food should be skipped over entirely. You should also avoid spicy foods that can cause there to be too much acid in your stomach. Lastly, Harvard Women’s Health Watch at Harvard Medical School recommends you avoid all caffeine and alcohol:

If you do have a snack before bed, wine and chocolate shouldn’t be part of it. Chocolate contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. Surprisingly, alcohol has a similar effect. “People thinks it makes them a little sleepy, but it’s actually a stimulant and it disrupts sleep during the night,” Dr. Carlson says.

Avoid these foods, stick to the simple snacks listed above, and you’ll make your stomach happy enough to take you to sleep town.

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Anything with a high sugar content is bad for sleep, you’ll end up with some really weird dreams and might end up with some night sweats as well.

Caffeine before bed. Not usually recommended, but it’s great to have some before a nap. I used to have a swig of cola when I’d wake up in the night, helped me awaken more refreshed.

Alcohol. It’s biphasic. It starts out as a stimulant, but becomes a depressant. Basically so long as your blood alcohol levels are maintained or rising, it acts as a stimulant. Once you stop drinking and it decreases, it becomes a depressant. The problem with alcohol before bed usually comes from “I need a drink to fall asleep”, which is correct, it does help facilitate sleep. The main issue is that it’s highly disruptive to the second half of sleep. You’ll get through the first 2 cycles normally, but the latter cycles are knocked out of whack, and people will often think they need a drink they next night to get a deeper sleep - continuing the cycle.

One of the nicest tricks to keep your stomach happy while you sleep is to lie on your left side. This lets gravity do some of the work with digestion and helps keep your stomach acid pooled away from the esophagus helping to prevent reflux/heartburn that can interfere with sleep.

As far as snacks go - pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of l-tryptophan, which (at night with no light exposure) is converted into melatonin, and any left in the system in the morning will become serotonin once you’re exposed to light.

If You Always Go To Sleep Feeling Hungry, Here's What You Should Do About It

I'm only semi-ashamed to admit that it's likely I'll take a bite of something small before bed tonight, and every night thereafter. In my defense, for every article you find online that shames snackers for grazing before bed, there's another that pardons the practice. The general consensus among experts is that you probably shouldn't eat right before you go to sleep. However, if you somehow always end up being hungry before bed, there's a liable reason.

Registered dietician Jessica Brewer tells Elite Daily that increased hunger is a sign that your internal clock is ticking:

If you find yourself desperate for sustenance around the time you'd normally hit the hay, be mindful of your cravings and allow yourself a small snack that's delicious but nutritious, so that you're not only satisfying your tastebuds, but fueling your body, as well. To curb nighttime cravings before they surface, here are a few reasons why you're feeling hungry at the worst possible time, and how you can cope.

It's most likely that you're not getting the proper nutrition throughout the day.

If you're consistently starving by bedtime, you might want to reconsider the food choices you're making throughout the day.

If you have trouble keeping track of your noms throughout any given day, start keeping a food journal to stay on top of it all. Focus on hitting all of your macro and micro nutrients. If any of these are lacking, you may have found the root cause of your midnight snacking.

Pay attention to your internal clock, and adjust accordingly.

Becoming ravenous at night could have less to do with what you're eating, and everything to do with when you're eating. If dinner is at 5 p.m. and bedtime is at 10 p.m., it's no wonder you're rummaging through the fridge at this time.

Owner of Mumbai-based nutrition counseling center Scale Beyond Size Tehzeeb Lalani told The Huffington Post,

Stress can also cause emotional eating, in which case you'll want to try to resist snacking and relax instead.

When emotions run high, comfort food is a quick and easy solution, but the calming effects hardly last more than a few minutes.

According to nutrition and holistic health coach and author of Nourish to Flourish Suzanne Jezek-Arriaga, stress makes “your cortisol level go up, which will make you hungrier and make your blood sugar and insulin levels rise.”

If at the end of the day, your mind is buzzing with to-do lists and work responsibilities, curb your impulsive sugar cravings by taking a warm bubble bath, reading a book, or meditating. Your brain is on overdrive, so in reality, it's your mindset that needs soothing, not your stomach.

There's also a good chance you're just bored.

I'm the type of person who is always go, go, go, so when there's nothing on the agenda, I'm likely to graze just because it's something to do. Apparently, I'm not alone in this.

Experts report that when your dopamine neurons are low, hunger runs high. Susan Carnell, Ph.D., and research psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, told Psychology Today,

Eat healthy throughout the day, and never feel bad about treating yourself to something sweet. Balance is key, but so is listening to your body.