If you are spending the whole day in work and you have been eating in between this workout moments when it is possible, while the time you enter your home, its late night, you are badly tired due to your hectic schedule and you feel hungry as hell. You don’t have any choice instead of eating late at night because your lifestyle is disturbed. You are also worried about your health because you are eating late at night regularly, and might be facing digestion problems and also face trouble falling and staying asleep. So, are you confused about the pros and cons of eating food before bedtime? or what type of food you may eat before going to bed? This content provides you guidance about what you can eat before going to sleep.
There are a lot of disputing opinions about is eating before bedtime good for you or not, or is it healthier for you or not. It should be good or bad, it depends on the foods which you consume at nighttime. Many of us are satisfied and feel relaxed eating late night and they believe it is an essential part of night cravings. Eating junk food, heavy meals, crackers, and bowls of cereals, popcorns before bedtime often lead to instability of sleep but instead of that, we love this nightmare cravings. You may hear lots of advises regarding eating food before bedtime is worse for your health and it may create lots of problems with high-risk factors. Let’s consider there pros and cons to our health.
Pros of eating late at night
There are so many advantages of eating before bedtime which may include, better sleeping, weight loss, and also maintaining the blood pressure.
1. Better sleep
Eating before bedtime makes your sleeping better because whenever you eat, your stomach is full which makes you feel sleepy and drowsy. But remember only nutritional and light food can make your sleep good with proper digestion, otherwise, heavy food can create digestion problems.
2. Weight Loss
Another benefit of eating before bedtime is weight loss. Whenever you are asleep, your body requires energy to function and when you go to your bed to sleep hungry, then your body lacks the calories and it may be required to recharge, and due to this lack of calories your body holds fats to fulfill the requirement of hunger.
You may also use sleep-inducing snacks (such as tryptophan and melatonin). It is good for you and these sleeping-induced snacks fill your hunger pangs with giving energy to your body which recovers your need at night.
- Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body to make protein and also increases the level of serotonin and melatonin in the body. Unfortunately, tryptophan can’t produce naturally, that’s why we consume certain types of foods that contain tryptophan to induce sleep. Tryptophan food includes eggs, nuts, fish, and beans.
- Melatonin: It is an important hormone that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Naturally, melatonin foods are cherries, tomatoes, olives, nuts, seeds, and grains.
3. Maintains blood sugar
Low-level sugar results in less energy and you may feel confused or agitated the next morning. Appropriate or high levels boost your energy. Foods like nuts, oatmeal, and wheat bread help to regulate blood sugar levels with an enhanced sleep pattern.
Cons of eating late at night
Drawbacks of eating before your bedtime may include poor sleep, unhealthy choice, slower metabolism, eating more, acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion.
1. Poor sleep
Consuming what type of food is depending or responsible for your sleep. Food that contains caffeine, chocolates is not a good choice before you go to bed because this food boosts your energy at a high level which might be caused by wake-up in the middle of the night and by consuming this food before bedtime you may experience lack of sleep.
2. Meal size
You may often hear the phrase “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. You should make a habit of eating heavy meals at day time instead of late night. Because consuming heavy or larger meals create digestion problems with instability of sleep.
3. Slower metabolism
One of the disadvantages of eating before bed is to slow your metabolism and your body functions slowly at night. Your body forces your muscles to break down the energy which may harm your body and you may experience weight gaining.
4. Unhealthy choices
Another important problem with late-night craving or snacking is the choices of food because mostly we are more likely eating junk foods, like cookies, ice-creams, pizza, heavy burgers and so on and these have high-fats and whenever we eat them before bedtime, especially in front of the TV, using our cell phones or social apps, we lose our control on eating and we consume this food mindlessly which is harmful for our health.
5. Acid Reflux, Indigestion
Eating heavy meals before bedtime has the risk of acid reflux. Acid reflux is the condition that arises with burning, pain, and often known as heartburn in your lower area of chest. When you eat heavy meals, your stomach acid returns back into your food pipe and you may also experience indigestion issues with abdominal pain or discomfort while sleeping.
Because after eating food and going to your bed, your body is in a state of rest with a horizontal angle, and in this position your stomach acid enters your esophagus easily for causing acid reflux. You may feel heartburn due to overeating, or spicy food consumption.
6. Other Health Risks
Regularly eating before your bedtime also cause health risks including:
- Obesity: Eating much more calories stores more fats in your body. Whenever you eat heavy meals before going to bed it may lead to obesity and your body also has a worse impact on your memory to work properly.
- Diabetes: Late night cravings or consuming carbohydrates before your bedtime may release the hormone in the morning that increases the resistance of insulin, because after eating larger meals your liver releases a large amount of glucose over a whole night that may lead to diabetes and you may face difficulties in producing the insulin for regulating your blood sugar level.
- Heart Disease: As we all are aware about eating before bedtime leads to weight gain, but according to new researches it is also suggested that eating late at night increases the risk of heart diseases. Late-night cravings gain your cholesterol level to its normal ranges and these are the type of fats present in your blood that increases the risk of heart-related diseases.
What types of food are worse before bedtime?
Before you understand what type of food is worse before you go to bedtime, it’s late and you may be facing digestion, heat burning, and acid reflux problems because whenever you eat heavy food, it takes lots of time to metabolize and digest in your body. You may experience acid refluxes. The foods that are worse before bedtime are:
1. Red Meat
According to recent studies, eating red meat before going to bed is proven worse for you because red meat carries large amounts of high proteins and insoluble fibers which takes a longer time to digest. If you eat red meat before going to your bed or sleeping your body working continuously the whole night to digest it and you are facing an uncomfortable night.
2. Cured Meat and Cheese
Cured meat and cheese contain tyramine (A compound found in cured meat and cheese and having a risk of high blood pressure in people). These foods are good for eating at day time, while if you are planning to eat this type of food at night time you may experience digestion problems, heat burning or abdominal pain.
Caffeine harm your sleep because nicotine is a stimulant that gives you energy and also makes your mind in a waking state. Intake of coffee remains in your system for a long time and also makes your sleep pattern more difficult and appears as a result of sleepiness the whole day.
Alcohol can allow healthy people to fall asleep more deeply and rapidly but it doesn’t mean it gives you a healthy and well sleep. The consumption of alcohol makes your sleep worse because it is suppressing the melatonin level (a hormone which is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle).
Chocolate also contains an amino acid that makes you alert all time while refreshing your mind. Just like cheese and cured meat, dark chocolate giving a double energy to the people. Dark chocolate has theobromine (that is responsible for increasing your heart rate and causing sleeplessness).
6. Orange Juices
Orange juices are good for daytime, while it’s proven worse before your bedtime because drinking orange juices release large amounts of sugar on your body with boosting energy that may disrupt your sleep. If you are trying to sleep, fresh juices are not good at the time of sleep.
You should drink plenty of water during the day time but you should avoid drinking water or any fluid before 1-2 hours of going to your bed, because urination urges you to get up of your bed and it may continuously disturb your sleep. Hydrate your body during the day and warn yourself to stop drinking water before an hour of sleep.
8. Tomato sauces
Do you want pizza? Or you want cheese topping at late night? You should avoid all such foods before going to your bed, because tomato sauce causes acidity that may appear as a heartburn and acid reflux. Afterall tomato sauces contain tyramine. Eating tomato sauce before going to your bed causes digestive issues.
What type of food is good before bedtime?
The food which is good before bedtime is rich in protein and it contains a tryptophan that is responsible to boost your energy and helps you fall asleep. Tryptophan enhances the production of melatonin and transmits the signal to your body to take rest and fall asleep. You should take the food that have a good source of melatonin and serotonin, these foods are:
Milk contains an amino acid and it helps to induce-sleep and it also contains a hormone which is named as melatonin that regulates sleep cycle. It is scientifically proven that milk is good for sleep. A glass of warm milk gives you comfort and soothing effect before going to bed. It also helps you sleep faster.
Popcorn is another best craving that helps your body to release the serotonin and this serotonin allows your body to fall asleep. But don’t eat more popcorn because sometimes it produces stomach aches.
3. Peanut Butter
Often after dinner, your sweet tooth is craving dessert. You may take peanut butter because it is loaded with tryptophan and helps to boost your metabolism faster. It also helps to burn calories throughout the next morning.
There are lots of fish available in the market but before going to bed or for better sleep, you should choose the fish which are high in proteins (such as halibut and salmon) because this type of fish has tryptophan that helps to enhance your sleep and it may easily digest.
The doctor ordered one tablespoon of honey before going to your bed because honey has a natural sugar that normalizes the level of insulin and also restocks your life when glycogen is needed to prevent the trigger from your brain. Honey improves the quality of sleep and transfers the tryptophan to the brain, while you should avoid high glycemic index at night.
Before you leave!
Health is a real wealth and you should do everything to keep your health well. Good sleep and eating good food are the main key factors that play an important role to keep you away from any kind of disease. Unbalanced, improper, and bad time diet disturbs your health. You must pay extra attention to your sleep and eating pattern because once the sleeping and digestion problems start they keep increasing day by day. If you are facing instability in sleep, you should avoid all kinds of food that are harmful to your health. If you are doing all precautions to live a better and safe life, you will notice great positive results.
A student of Respiratory Therapist from Dow university of health sciences. She trying to find scientific knowledge and theory to practical problems Related to respiratory care modalities including oxygen and aerosol therapy ,breathing problems and humidity And focusing cardiopulmonary diseases .just to help students to understand in easier way and for acknowledging common people.