30+ healthy late-night snacks to help you sleep

We don’t reach for healthy late-night snacks when binge eating late-night.

We often don’t reach for a healthy late-night snack when it’s late at night.  We reach for a snack that satisfies our cravings and we go all in. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to why some people wait until nighttime to binge eat, but several factors may contribute to this behavior. It’s very common for most people to let go of self-control at night.

  • One possible reason is that you may feel more relaxed and less stressed at night, leading to greater cravings for food to cope with stressful feelings. You may feel more tired at night, making it harder to resist the urge to binge eat and less self-control. 
  • Another possible reason is that you may be more likely to eat emotionally at night, as they may feel lonely or bored, and food can provide comfort and distraction. This can be especially true for those who struggle with anxiety or depression, as those conditions can be exacerbated at night when there are fewer distractions and more time to ruminate.1
  • You may have more free time at night, which can lead to boredom and a desire to snack as a way to pass the time.
  • Late-night snacking can also become a habit, as people may become accustomed to eating at a certain time each night and find it difficult to break that pattern.

It’s worth noting that binge eating at any time of day can be a sign of an underlying eating disorder, such as binge eating disorder or bulimia. These conditions should be treated with the help of a mental health professional and should not be ignored or dismissed.

Reasons behind nighttime binge eating

It’s important to be aware of the reasons behind nighttime binge eating and to address them, such as finding healthier ways to cope with stress or boredom and establishing a consistent sleep schedule. It may also be helpful to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist to address any underlying emotional issues contributing to the behavior.

Much like our autonomic nervous system that instantly reacts to our stress. Our pallet may be limited to trying new things and taste preferences which overrides our desire to fuel ourselves better.   When I give you a list of better foods, your initial reaction may be closed to new options. I want you to renew your mind and be open to the opportunity for change.

Several factors can contribute to binge eating at night, including

    • For many, food has been used to cope, soothe, and celebrate.
    • Food is something we can associate with different experiences. Also, we eat with our eyes, and we eat for comfort.
    • Cost, convenience, accessibility, and variety are major factors, especially at the end of the day.
    • Decision fatigue results from the thousands of decisions we make daily. Most of these decisions are autonomic. Happening automatically from years of conditioning. The same comes for your decisions about food. We often eat the same things because we don’t want to explore or decide to try something new.
    • Food feels good/and tastes good. Some chemicals in food release our hormones, such as feel-good hormones like Dopamine and Serotonin, which make our body want more.
    • Lack of structure in the day
    • Hormonal imbalance- Check out my post on How stress is stalling your weight loss

Hormones are a major factor in the food you crave before bed.

Studies have concluded, Hormones play a big part in your appetite and sleep deprivation.3 Food can help support or disrupt your hormonal balance. Chronic stress causes hormonal imbalances, which can also contribute to overindulgence.  There is a gamut of reasons why each individual may find it hard to control their eating at night.

Studies have found that up to 55% of people who are sleep deprived are considered obese compared to those who get the suggested amount of sleep daily.3 Getting adequate sleep can help curve your cravings and regulate your appetite. I am sure that you are aware that stress is bad.

IT WON’T CHANGE THE STRESSORS unless I plan to destress my life completely. I can offer you ways to cope with stress better.  One of the major questions I get asked in my training is how do I stop binging at night or what do I eat instead of poor choices at night? Healthy late-night snack options can help you sleep and satiate your appetite.

You may also be more likely to indulge in high-calorie foods at night due to decreased willpower and increased cravings. Some people may use food to cope with stress or help them relax before going to bed. It’s important to note that binge eating at any time can negatively impact health and well-being. It usually hinders your progress or keeps you at a plateau.

Food can cause unwanted stress to disrupt sleep.

Much like our autonomic nervous system that instantly reacts to our stress. Our pallet may be limited to trying new things and taste preferences which overrides our desire to fuel ourselves better.   When I give you a list of better foods, your initial reaction may be closed to new options. I want you to renew your mind and be open to the opportunity for change.

  • For many, food has been used to cope, soothe, and celebrate.
  • Food is something we can associate with different experiences. Also, we eat with our eyes, and we eat for comfort.
  • Cost, convenience, accessibility, and variety are major factors, especially at the end of the day.
  • Decision fatigue is the result of the thousands of decisions we have made throughout our day. Most of these decisions are autonomic. Happening automatically from years of conditioning. The same comes for your decisions about food. We often eat the same things because we don’t want to explore or decide to try something new.
  • Food feels good/ There are chemicals in food that release our hormones, such as release feel-good hormones like Dopamine and Serotonin, which makes our body want more. Healthy late-night snacks can feel and taste good

Sleep is crucial to helping you achieve your fitness goals

Sleep plays a significant role in muscle recovery and repair. When you exercise, your muscles break down and repair and rebuild during sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to muscle fatigue, reduced strength, and increased risk of injury.

Studies have proven that sleep is essential for regulating hormones that affect your appetite and metabolism.2 When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which increases hunger, and less of the hormone leptin, which tells your brain that you’re full. This can lead to overeating and weight gain, making it harder to achieve your fitness goals.

Sleep is crucial for mental and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep can cause mood swings, irritability, and lower motivation levels, making sticking to a workout routine more challenging. Sleeping is crucial for achieving your fitness goals because it supports muscle recovery, regulates appetite and metabolism, and promotes mental and emotional well-being.

Healthy Late-Night Snacks for Sleepiness

Certain nutrients and hormones help promote sleep. Tryptophan, found in turkey and fish, promotes serotonin production. Melatonin (found in dairy and cherries) makes you sleepy, and potassium (found in bananas) and magnesium (also found in bananas and almonds) help promote muscle relaxation. Furthermore, many herbs, often found in teas like chamomile and mint, are considered sleep-inducing, while warm milk is also effective.

Three Nutrients and hormones that help you sleep better are Tryptophan, Magnesium, and Melatonin.

Foods High in Tryptophan help you sleep better.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. Meaning our body needs it but doesn’t make it.  The thing about tryptophan is that out of the nine essential acids, we need. We need very little Tryptophan, which helps with many vital processes in our body.  It helps induce serotonin and helps with metabolism, brain cognition, and behavior. It can be found in a variety of goods, but for the sake of time, the top foods are

  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Fruit: Apples, plantains, bananas, kiwifruit and pineapple
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Nuts or seeds

Healthy Late-Night Snacks to help you fall asleep

Consider the following evening snacks to help you fall asleep:

  • Peanut butter on whole-grain bread
  • Lean cheese on whole-grain crackers
  • Fortified cereal and milk- One Serving
  • Almonds
  • Cherries
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt

Foods High in Magnesium help you sleep better

Magnesium helps with bone health, calcium absorption, metabolizing food, and synthesis of fatty acids and protein. Most people are magnesium deficient usually because of malnourishment (and not because they’re not eating) but because they’re not eating nourishing food.  Eating synthetic food or foods that have a long shelf life.  Excessive alcohol consumption, certain prescribed medications, high-sugar diets, overuse of antacids or reflux medication, and leaky gut syndrome all contribute to insufficient magnesium.

Great food sources are

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Nuts (especially almonds, walnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts)
  • Legumes
  • Tofu
  • Seeds (pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds)
  • Canned tuna
  • Leafy greens
  • raisins

Food to support Melatonin and help you sleep better

Melatonin is a hormone found in the pineal gland in the center of our brain. It functions with the rhythm of the sun, so when the sun rises, we produce less melatonin, and when it falls, we produce more. Melatonin helps our body regulate sleep. There are many over-the-counter options, but God gave us. Eating these foods at night can help you get to sleep and regulate sleep.

  • Tart cherries
  • Goji berries
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Oats
  • Pistachio
  • Rice

Healthy Late-night snack to help you sleep

Sleeping well is essential for maintaining good health, but sometimes it can be hard to fall asleep. Eating a snack before bed is one way to help yourself sleep better. Here are some healthy late-night snacks that can help you sleep better:

  1. Bananas: Bananas contain tryptophan, which helps to relax your body and mind. They also contain magnesium, which can help to improve sleep quality.
  2. Almonds: Almonds are a great source of magnesium and tryptophan, which can help to calm your body and mind. They are also high in protein, which can help to keep you feeling full throughout the night.
  3. Warm milk: Warm milk is a classic bedtime drink that can help to soothe your body and mind. Milk contains tryptophan, which can help to promote relaxation and sleep.
  4. Cherries:  Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. A cup of tart cherry juice can be an alternative to a glass of red wine, which reduces inflammation and puts you to sleep easily. Eating cherries or drinking cherry juice before bed can help to improve sleep quality.
  5. Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is high in protein, which can help to keep you feeling full throughout the night. It also contains calcium, which can help to promote relaxation and sleep. If Ice cream is your night-time treat. Have you tried Yogurt Bark? It’s super easy and really tasty. Try Yogurt Bark; you can find it on the FaithFueled Life App
  6. Whole grain crackers: Whole grain crackers are a great source of carbohydrates, which can help to promote relaxation and sleep. They are also low in calories, which makes them a great late-night snack option.
  7. Herbal tea: Herbal tea, such as chamomile or lavender, can help to promote relaxation and sleep. These teas contain compounds that can help to calm your body and mind.
  8.  Sleep Better Cookie: 1/2 Banana, 2 tbsp Walnuts,  1/2 cup Oats, and  2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix together and Microwave for 45-90 seconds. Let cool and enjoyWhen choosing a late-night snack, avoiding foods high in sugar or caffeine is important, as these can interfere with sleep. It’s also important to avoid overeating, as it can make falling asleep harder. C

    hoosing the right late-night snack can help to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Incorporating healthy late-night snacks into your bedtime routine can help you get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and energized.

Reference

  1. Rosenbaum, D. L., & White, K. S. (2015). The relation of anxiety, depression, and stress to binge eating behavior. Journal of Health Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105315580212
  2. Carley, D. W., & Farabi, S. S. (2016). Physiology of Sleep. Diabetes Spectrum : A Publication of the American Diabetes Association, 29(1), 5-9. https://doi.org/10.2337/diaspect.29.1.5
  3. Lucassen, E. A., Zhao, X., Rother, K. I., Mattingly, M. S., Courville, A. B., Csako, G., Cizza, G., & Study Group, S. E. (2013). Evening Chronotype Is Associated with Changes in Eating Behavior, More Sleep Apnea, and Increased Stress Hormones in Short Sleeping Obese Individuals. PLOS ONE, 8(3), e56519. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0056519

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