When it comes to having a snack before bedtime, there are several misconceptions that may overshadow someone's judgment about whether it is determinant, acceptable or useful. To help clarify long-standing debates, our team of registered nutritionists refuses the art of snacking before bed, and that solved some of the most common questions when it comes to snacking before bed:
What are your favorite bedtime snacks and why?
Coach Anika: I usually go for a small amount of carbohydrates, balanced with fat or protein. My combinations are often something sweet (because I like this taste profile), but balanced so that they do not raise blood sugar levels. I also want to make sure that this does not lead to a thirst for more food right before bedtime. I am almost 5 years old, so we will try to have a snack before bedtime 30 minutes before bedtime. Some of our transition options are:
- Frozen berries with a small amount of heavy cream
- 1 oz. dark chocolate with tsp almond oil
- Protein pudding or protein shake
- Almond Butter Scoop
- Handful of almonds
Coach Julie: I love decadent protein shake – I think peanut butter, banana and chocolate, but I will cut the portions in half, so I do not go to bed on a full stomach. One of my favorite snacks is a cocktail, which can also be mistaken for “ice cream” if you make it thick enough:
- Pistachios with salt and pepper – they are salty, crunchy, contain healthy fats and fiber, and also eat some time.
- Blueberry collagen sorbet – I put 1-1.5 cups of frozen blueberries in my blender, add unsweetened almond or cashew milk until it barely covers blueberries, add vanilla collagen peptide balls and mix until smooth. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of my favorite organic peanut butter.
- Lindt 90% dark chocolate – I also sometimes add peanut butter.
Coach Katherine: When I am going to have a snack before bedtime, my main goal is to maintain quality sleep! I like the protein balance with carbohydrates, as it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, helping me sleep and not wake up at the same time every night. If I’m looking for something sweeter and want more carbohydrate base, I’ll add some protein and fat just to make sure that it’s not disturbing my sleep. As you can tell, I love to sleep! Some of my snacks:
- Protein shake
- A handful of nuts + 2 squares of dark chocolate
- Apple + Peanut Butter
- A handful of nuts + fat cheese stick
Coach Amy: My favorite bedtime snacks are usually a combination of carbohydrates + protein, so some of my snacks are:
- Apple + Peanut Butter
- Protein balls: oats + protein powder + chia seeds + peanut butter
- Oats + protein powder
Coach Mandy: My favorite bedtime snacks always include a source of protein, fiber and healthy fats, as well as a small portion of complex carbohydrates that help maintain a more stable blood sugar level overnight for better sleep. I think of it as a mini food! If I'm in the mood for something sweet, I will go for chia pudding made from collagen protein. If I'm looking for a savory option, I like to wrap vegetarian sticks in an organic meat lunch and immerse in hummus or guacamole.
What are some common misconceptions when it comes to snacking at bedtime?
Coach Anika: There is a “hard and fast rule” for everyone, and they are not allowed to have a snack at bedtime. People tend to believe that because they do not often move at night (or after dinner), they do not need anything, OR they are told that this is acceptable only for a set time, which should be fair to all. Many customers believe that they can not eat after 6-7 pm.
Coach Mandy: A common misconception is that eating after dinner is always no no. While many people really benefit from expanding their “window of fasting,” some people need more frequent meals. For example, if someone struggles with sleep quality or adrenal gland problemsthey can benefit from more frequent meals and sugar stabilizing snacks in the evening.
Coach Amy: This food late in the evening will always accumulate in the form of fat, which can slow down your metabolism. Afternoon food is not needed; It should be avoided for weight loss and fat loss.
What kind of snacks before bedtime should people avoid?
Coach Anika: As a rule, you do not need something that will lead to excessive consumption (that is, never eat directly from the container with ice cream, a package of chips, etc.). People should avoid appetizers that are not balanced by macro elements. Often people consume foods, mostly carbohydrates, which cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate.
Coach Paul: Sweets, processed carbohydrates, several alcoholic beverages.
Coach Amy: Large amounts of fat and fiber (or large amounts of any type of food), as these things can be digested longer and interfere with restful sleep.
Coach Katherine: Avoid snacks that are full of sugar. If you are hungry after dinner, this may indicate that you had a diet during the day, which was not balanced enough. If you have a strong craving for the night, it can also become a habit that you have developed overtime, and your body is used to nightly pleasures such as popcorn, ice cream, chips or candy. When it comes to drinking and having a “nightcap” to help you relax, it is important to understand that this in fact greatly disrupts sleep – not to mention that it can increase the sugar and carbohydrate content.
Are there any reasons why some people are more likely to snack before bed? If so, why?
Coach Anika: My clients always look at the “when” they had dinner. If it were close to sleep (<2 hours), they might need to balance out their dinner more by adding protein and fat. If they ate dinner >2 hours before bedtime they may need a snack. Blood sugar imbalance often causes sweet teeth at night and increases cravings for snacks.Other things such as high stress and often can lead to cravings at night, as well as boredom. Behavior like sitting on the couch or watching TV for too long can lead to unnecessary snacks.
Coach Paul: There is some research into the "genetic" tendencies associated with snacking, but more stringent science needs to be done. In my experience, unmanageable / uncontrollable stress and blood sugar imbalance lead to unhealthy snacks. The poor condition of micronutrients is probably also due to the desire to eat – that is, if someone does not have enough B6, they will almost certainly struggle to produce enough serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that feel good. Consumption of carbohydrates may help to compensate for serotonin deficiency.
Coach Amy: People may have a snack before bedtime due to boredom, stress, inadequate nutrition throughout the day, or inadequate intake of carbohydrates during the day. When people do not get enough carbohydrates per day, it can lead to the fact that they will crave those carbohydrates that they missed later at night.
When comparing day snacks and night snacks, what are the main differences?
Coach Anika: Snacks should really give you energy between main meals. I often offer daily snacks to those who often overeat while eating, because they appear hungry or hungry, which can lead to overeating. Snacks during the day are also a great way to provide the body with optimal macro elements – most of us get enough protein, but not often during the day (> this is useful when the body receives protein in small, lump sums several times a day). If I'm looking for ways to get protein during the daytime, I usually shake or take a protein bar when I'm on the way – organic pruning Mauer has great options because they are rich in protein and I can take one at the club.
For most people, nightly snacks are not a big habit, because people lose control of their eating habits because of cravings and tend to consume the least healthy foods. In general, nightly snacks are an opportunity to provide the body with perfect nutrition, and with the help of the right tools, people can count on the fact that they do not break their eating plan.
Coach Julie: During the day, we move and are more likely to burn through snacks that contain a stronger carbohydrate component (for example, fruits or crackers), but although none of them can be the perfect snack during the day, they can be the main opponent at night.
Try to avoid high sugar, traditional desert before bedtime. They will take you out of the fat burning state (which is inherent during sleep) and can cause restless sleep. It may even make you wake up in the middle of the night due to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. No bueno. Knowing this, I love a protein-rich snack that doubles as a “something sweet” that will satisfy your metabolic needs at bedtime, as well as quench your cravings for sweet treats after dinner.
Coach Amy: The reason for snacking can be the difference in night and daytime – daytime snacks usually consist in maintaining energy levels between meals, while at night this can be motivated by the desire to compensate for insufficient carbohydrate intake at the beginning of the day.
If you have any specific questions about a snack before bed or anything else mentioned above, feel free to ask our team of registered nutritionists by email [email protected],
– The team of registered nutritionists Your Life Time
- Anika Christos, RD, CPT – Life Time Director of Digital Programs and Events
- Paul Crigler, RD – Life Time Nutrition Program Development Manager
- Julie Brown, RD – Life Time Food Program Manager
- Catherine Knafla, RD, LD – Life Time Assistant Program Manager, Laboratory Testing
- Mandy Rother RD, LD, IFMNT Nutritionist, NASM-CPT – Life Time Assistant Program Manager, Laboratory Testing
- Amy Chris, RD, LD – Life Time, Lab Tests and Virtual Learning
This article is not intended to treat or prevent disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. The use of recommendations in this and other articles on the choice and the risk of the reader.