Is it Good to Snack Before Bed?

By Emily Morris

We eat healthy all day and come night time we sabotage all of our efforts with late-night snacking. I have witnessed (and been guilty myself) a regular pattern of people struggling with their weight and attempting to eat a well-balanced diet all day long. They commit to exercise, but throw it all away with snacking later in the day on unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Why do we do this to ourselves? The reason, I think, boils down to mindless habits and nagging cravings.

Give Pause to Your Emotions

When you’re winding down for the night and wondering if it is good to have a snack before bed, check in with your emotions first. Eating emotionally goes beyond physical fullness and is felt most often after a main meal. You want to eat something fun! Choose alternative ways of rewarding such as a good movie or book, a hobby, taking a bath, getting a massage, or going for a walk around your neighborhood. Work on developing positive distractions that can help you break the pattern.

Give Your Digestive System Some Rest

Eating too close to bed time works against weight loss efforts and disrupts quality sleep. Studies demonstrate that having large gaps between our last meal of one day and our first meal of the next day improves outcomes for diabetes and the associated health complications. Weight loss efforts are also found to be more successful when we give ourselves at least 12 hours of fasting.

Go to Bed Early

Staying up late works against our natural circadian rhythm and promotes fatigue and lethargy. Being tired stimulates cravings for quick energy releasing foods. Hitting the hay instead of raiding the cupboard may help you avoid those pick-me-up snacks.

Sip on Some Herbal Tea

Rather than having a snack before bed, sip on a cup of tea. Tea is a useful aid to help us sleep. It promotes relaxation while supporting healthy habits. If you’re craving something sweet, choose tea blends containing licorice, cinnamon, and other spices. Relaxing blends that promote restful sleep contain peppermint and chamomile. Teas containing fennel and ginger aid in post-dinner digestion.

Cut Back on Alcohol

Alcohol may increase our desires for less than desirable food choices. If we choose to have a glass of something make it dry, sugar free and stick to just 1 or 2 servings.

Get to Know Your Cravings

It’s important to understand your cravings. Observing what you crave and when can be an incredibly helpful tool for making better choices and stoping unhealthy habits. Next time a craving strikes, take a moment to pause and observe it. Look for ways to satisfy the craving without indulging in unhealthy ways.

Ultimately, we must eat to keep our body functioning properly, but we need to learn our relationship with food and why we make the choices we do. Having support is invaluable. Make sure you have someone to check in with when cravings arise, such as a personal trainer. It helps to be able to lean on someone who cares and believes in you.