Best and Worst Bedtime Foods for a Deep Sleep and Healthy Weight Loss

foods-before-bed

I see many people who  have a strict eating program like no eating before going to bed or eating dinner at least a couple hours before sleeping. The most common fear among them is that it may disturb their sleep and may make them gain weight and stubborn belly fat.

But, that's not true. Eating before going to bed is completely fine but not any food. As the digestive system slows down during the later hours of the day, the key is choosing what to eat and what not to eat before bed. There are many foods, that you can take at night, that are proven to help you sleep better and shed pounds of belly fat. Let's know them:

The First Scientific Experiment

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There was an experiment on how sleep can be affected by certain foods. The doctors who conducted the research were from the Department of Psychobiology, the Federal University of Sao Paulo and the Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Uberlandia of Minas Gerais, both from Brazil.

For this experiment, there were 52 individuals recruited to participate, twenty-seven women and twenty-five men. The sleeping patterns of these volunteers were analyzed through nocturnal polysomnography and went through a three-day food diary evaluation.

The Results

This experiment concluded that high-calorie foods that are consumed before going to sleep could affect your sleeping patterns. The meals were consumed between thirty and sixty minutes before going to bed, and they were associated with higher sleep latency.

The results of the study were that food that is high in fat and carbohydrates was the primary cause in affecting one’s sleeping patterns, negatively. However, other studies have shown that if an individual consumes food that is rich in carbohydrates four hours before sleeping, he will have a decrease in sleep latency.

So, we can say that the rule of eating four hours before going to bed has some truth to it. Continuing with the study, we also found out that different types of fat like monounsaturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat, total fat, etc. were the culprits that limited the amount of sleep that an individual could get.

Furthermore, when you sleep, the activity of the digestive system is slowed down and that way, it can easily be overloaded if an individual has an excessive food intake before going to bed.


The Second Scientific Experiment

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Doctors from the New York Obesity Research Center and Institute of Human Nutrition and other institutions gathered 26 adults for an experiment. They wanted to see how sleep can be affected by different types of food. The foods used in this analysis were high in fiber, high in carbohydrates and high in fat.

Study Source: http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=30412


The Results 

The results of the second study 2 suggest that food can have an impact on sleep depth, tendency, and architecture. High saturated fat intake has decreased the slow sleep wave (SWS) time and increased the sleep onset intake (SOL).

An intake that is higher in saturated fat and lowers in fiber was associated with a less deep sleep profile. Nocturnal arousals during sleep were also related to food containing sugar and non-sugar/non-fiber carbohydrates.

However, food rich in fiber is related to restorative and deeper sleep. So, a diet that is low on sugary food, low in carbohydrates but rich in fiber can improve sleep depth and architecture. It can assist those who have sleeping problems.


Best Bedtime Foods That Help You Sleep

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As those two studies suggest, the best night foods are the ones that are low in fat, low in carbohydrates but rich in fiber or even protein. So without further ado, here is a short list of foods that you can consume before going to bed.

1. A Hard Cooked Egg

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An egg is an excellent source of protein that can make you feel as if you’ve eaten a decent meal. A cooked egg can make you fall asleep and stay asleep. Give it a try once in a while.

2. A Bowl of Cereal

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Get your favorite non-sugary cereal; add some milk to it, and some fruits and you can enjoy a great meal that is rich in fiber. Avoid sugary cereals or adding sugar to the milk. Keep it straightforward and healthy. Though, you can add some honey.

3. Foods Rich in Fiber

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If you don’t want your restorative sleep to get disrupted, go for foods that are rich in fiber. These are raspberries, beans, broccoli, berries, avocados, figs, peas, nuts (preferably almonds), etc.​

4. Drink a Cup of Tea

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Green tea and chamomile are great examples of warm beverages you can enjoy before going to bed. For example, green tea contains a substance called theanine, which can help promote sleep. So, next time you want to drink something hot before going to bed, skip the coffee and go for a cup of tea.

5. Dairy

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If you are not lactose intolerant, a glass of warm milk can be the perfect beverage for you before going to sleep. You can also go for low-fat yogurt if you don’t like drinking milk.

6. Banana

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This fruit is rich in potassium and magnesium – substances that can help your muscles relax. Besides those substances, bananas contain tryptophan, a substance that converts into melatonin and serotonin, hormones that can calm you.

7. Food Rich in Protein

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Besides egg whites, you can also try eating cod, chicken, beef, salmon, pork chops, oats, wheat flour, soybeans, sunflower seeds, sesame and much more. Besides being rich in protein, they also contain tryptophan, the same substance found in banana, which can calm you before going to bed.


Worst Bedtime Foods That Disrupt Sleep

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Many types of foods can make you fall asleep very late or make your body wake up in the middle of the night. Here are a few examples:

1. Coffee

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Coffee is one of the most popular drinks used to this day. This stimulant can give you energy for five hours, give or take and you can still feel its effects for the next ten hours. The problem is that many people drink coffee because they are too used to it.

However, you should know that coffee is the first thing you must avoid if you want to have a good night’s sleep. This stimulant will block the adenosine receptor. Thus, you will no longer feel sleepy. Not only that but if you manage to fall asleep, you will likely wake up feeling tired and realize that you just had your sleeping time reduced. Though, at noon, coffee nap is highly beneficial.

2. Alcohol

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You might get the sensation that alcohol can make you feel sleepy, but in fact, it makes you drowsy. Alcohol will increase slow wave sleep, but after a while, your sleep will get interrupted.

So, next time you want to get a good night’s sleep, put that cold beer back in the fridge and get a warm cup of tea instead.

3. Fatty Foods

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Besides being unhealthy, fatty foods are not recommended if you want to sleep without interruptions. You may crave junk food because you didn’t get enough sleep, but the reality is that this type of meal will make you sleep in small sessions. As a result, you will wake up extremely tired. So, put down that chicken and go for some almonds or a bowl of cereal.

4. Dark Chocolate

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While many would say that dark chocolate is healthier than white or milk chocolate, you should know that it can contain a certain level of caffeine. Besides that, it can also include theobromine, a substance that has the same effects as caffeine.

5. Spicy Food

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We all like spicy foods, but eating them before going to bed is a bad idea. The thing is that the ingredients that make the food spicy can result in indigestion and that can disrupt your sleeping process. Capsaicin, a compound found in spicy food, can affect your body temperature resulting in interrupted sleeping.


Best Bedtime Foods That Help You Lose Weight

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Many people have tried loads of diets and weight loss programs to get in shape. Some succeeded while others couldn’t keep up with the diet.

While exercising is important, it’s also the food that you eat that will dictate whether you gain or lose weight. Best bedtime snacks to lose weight are:

1. Vegetables

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It should be on anyone’s food list if they want to lose weight. Consuming vegetables can make you feel full, it can give you lots of nutrients, and they can do all that without making you worry about your calorie intake. You can replace a high-calorie meal with vegetables.

For example, if you want to lose weight and your average calorie intake is around 2000 calories, you can get to 1500 calories by eating more vegetables. You will feel full, but you will also consume fewer calories. Vegetables are also great if you want to sleep without having to deal with the interruptions produced by fatty foods.

Here are some examples of vegetables that are low in calories: kale, broccoli, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, onions, eggplants, celery, peppers and much more. Those were the non-starchy ones. Now, we will take a look at the starchy vegetables. Here are a few examples: peas, potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and plantains.

Legumes are also great if you want to mix it up a bit. Split peas, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas are also excellent sources of protein and fiber. They are higher in calories than starchy foods, but when mixed with low-calorie vegetables, they can add some flavor and texture.

2. Lean Meat

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If you want to lose weight but still consume meat, you cannot go wrong with turkey, salmon, chicken, tuna, etc. They are high in proteins, and low in fat and some of them are excellent night snacks before going to bed. Just remember that you mustn’t fry them or you will gain weight instead of losing it.

3. Eggs

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Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin B, A, E, calcium, zinc, iron and other minerals. Besides that, two eggs contain between ten to twelve grams of protein. Eggs are particularly great as a before-bed snack and can also promote weight loss as long as you boil them and don’t fry them.

4. Skimmed Milk

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Milk can also help you lose weight. By drinking milk, you will get your daily dose of protein, calcium and you can sleep well at night. You can drink a warm glass of milk, use it in a smoothie or consume it with a bowl of cereal.


Worst Bedtime Foods That Disrupt Weight Loss

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These foods are good for skinny persons but not for a health conscious person. If you want to gain lose weight, avoid these foods at night completely:

1. Red meats

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Unlike white meat, red meat contains more calories and fat, that means you will gain more weight. The more marbled the meat is, the more fat it contains.

2. Whole Milk

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A high fat whole milk contains 60 extra calories per serving. Although it is loaded with extra vitamins yet it is hard to digest at night and disrupts weight loss.

3. Cheese

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Cheese contains high-fat, and that attracts weight gain. Although, it is a good source of protein yet the fat and carbs content is really high. Don't consume cheese at night if you want to lose weight.

4. Pasta

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Pasta, like cheese, can go with many types of meals, especially read meat. It is full of carbohydrates and has a high amount of calories in comparison to other flour-based foods. Simply, avoid it.

5. Potatoes

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Potatoes are high in carbohydrates. Moreover, most people go for a fried potato recipe that adds high fat content to it. It can break your efforts to lose weight.

6. White Bread

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White breads are highly refined carbs that contain almost zero fiber. They are hard to digest, causes weight gain, and not healthy at all. Don't consume them, especially, at night.

7. Peanut butter

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Certainly, it is not a night time food. One hundred grams of peanut butter contains almost six hundred grams of calories, which means you will gain weight in no time.


Must Read: Before You Go!

So, it was an intensive list of foods that you can take before bed for a rejuvenating sleep and a healthy weight loss. Feel free to eat these foods before sleeping yet Moderation is the key. Don't take them as granted and consume them in small portions only to curb your night time hunger.

You must have heard, Garbage in garbage out. The same is true for our body as well. What you put into your mouth and down your throat decides how will be your overall sleep, complexion, stress level, and health. So be wise and choose your bedtime snacks carefully.