How Your Midnight Snack Affects Your Sleep

Sometimes hunger strikes unexpectedly and you may find yourself foraging in the kitchen when it’s time to head to bed. When this happens, here’s how to snack strategically so that what you eat won’t disrupt your sleep.

​Get Your Chip Fix from Kale, Not Potato

While a greasy snack can be satisfying, too much fat can lead to bloating and gas. So chowing down on potato chip scan leave you in discomfort that could keep you up at night. If you need to fulfill a craving for something crunchy and salty, try kale chips instead. You’ll find an easy recipe here.

Say No to Chocolate and Yes to Organic Popcorn

Although dark chocolate has its health advantages, chocolate, in general, may contain sugar or caffeine that can disrupt sleep. Instead, try popcorn. Popcorn contains lots of fiber which not only keeps you full but has also been shown to encourage sleep in other ways. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows a connection between consuming fiber-­‐rich food and falling sleep. “On the higher end of the fiber intake, there was more deep sleep and less time spent in stage 1 or light sleep. On the lower end, we saw the opposite,” said lead study author Marie-­‐Pierre St-­‐Onge, PhD, from the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center.

Important tip: When buying popcorn make sure you choose an organic and non-­‐GMO brand because corn is considered to be one of the most chemically and genetically manipulated produce.

Avoid the Cookies and Reach for the Fruit

Cookies can be tempting – and very likely readily available in your kitchen – but they may have refined sugars and simple carbohydrates that will make your energy spike. They’re fine for daytime snacking but at bedtime they could make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. If you must have something sweet, try fruits. Cherries, for example, is one of the few foods that naturally have melatonin – a hormone produced in the brain that helps regulate sleep cycles. No cherries? Try a banana, it also contains melatonin.

Pass on the Beer and Go for Tea or a Warm Nut Milk

Some people find that alcohol helps them fall asleep faster so you might be tempted to have a beer before going to bed. But alcohol in your system overnight will keep you from getting enough deep sleep. Your body will spend more time in the stages of sleep that are less restful and you’ll wake up feeling tired. If you really want a drink, choose a caffeine-­‐free tea like chamomile or peppermint. Alternatively, have a comforting glass of warm organic milk. It’s great before sleep because it naturally contains tryptophan. If you are lactose intolerant, a warm nut milk is sure to get you more relaxed.

Now you know how to responsibly fulfill midnight snack cravings. Whether it’s late at night, late into your 30s, or late in the year of a forgotten resolution – it’s never too late to start making smart choices about what you eat. If sleep and midnight cravings are a constant issue , these may be signs of liver congestion. Consider a cleanse like The iBody’s doctor-designed 21 Day Detox Program to help with issues of sleep, food cravings, energy and digestion problems and reboot your body.

by Lee Erickson