There are many reasons people might snack at night. It may not be a problem if someone does it occasionally. If late-night snacking becomes a regular habit, it could be a sign of an underlying disorder, or lead to potential health problems.
Boredom and emotional eating may cause people to eat later in the evening. Some research suggests a link between emotional Eating, Depression, and Obesity.
A 2018 review reveals that night-eating disorder (NES) can be described as disordered eating in which someone consumes 25% or more of their daily calories at bedtime.
People with NES eat a lot of food at night, especially after they get up from bed. People with NES may eat less in the morning, have trouble sleeping, and often feel depressed.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who eat food at night and evening had a higher body fat percentage and BMI.
According to the authors, this could be due to the lower thermic effects of food after melatonin onset. This refers to a lower metabolism and energy use later in the night.
People with acid reflux (or gastroesophageal regurgitation disease (GERD), should avoid eating at night as it could exacerbate their symptoms. Experts recommend that people with GERD avoid eating for at least 3 hours before going to bed.
Breakfast is defined as “breaking a fast.” research suggests that fasting overnight can have health benefits and lower the risk of becoming obese. It is best to avoid late-night snacking.
The best evening snacks
A balanced diet should be a goal for everyone.
A diet high in refined sugars or carbohydrates can cause an imbalance of blood sugar. Evidence indicates that high-glycemic (GI) foods can cause blood glucose dysregulation.
A person’s blood glucose dysregulation can negatively impact their mood and make them crave more food. A person could gain weight by eating high-GI foods and too many calories before going to bed.
Certain foods may contain compounds such as tryptophan or melatonin that help people sleep.
These are healthy snacks that you can eat if you are feeling hungry. It is important to remember that late-night snacking can lead to weight gain.
If you find yourself craving a lot of food at night, it is worth speaking with your doctor.
A pilot 2019 study found that Montmorency tart cherries juice improved sleep efficiency and time in those with insomnia. The sleep-promoting properties of tart cherries could be due to their high levels of procyanidins and melatonin.
Many tart and sour cherries are sold in frozen form at grocery stores. To help you sleep, you could try eating them with natural yogurt that also contains tryptophan. Retailers can also sell Montmorency tart cherry liquid.
Turkey is a good source of tryptophan. Light turkey meat contains more of it than dark turkey meat.
Studies have shown that tryptophan directly affects sleep. It is converted to serotonin, and then to melatonin. This works in the pineal cell to induce sleeping.
A 2016 study found that carbohydrates may help people absorb tryptophan into the brain. A turkey sandwich made from whole grain bread may be able to help someone sleep.
Oats are a natural source of Melatonin. Other cereals like wheat and barley are also good sources of this substance.
Oats can also be considered a healthy whole food, containing vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. If a person wants to lose weight, they should eat a smaller amount of oats before bed. A 40g (g) serving of oats has 140 calories.
You can also sprinkle cinnamon over your oatmeal. research suggests that cinnamon balances blood glucose. This may help with cravings, weight, and mood. It is also anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant.
People with liver problems or who are taking medication, like warfarin, should consult their doctor before they consume cinnamon.
Bananas can increase melatonin, which can aid in sleep. A medium banana has 105 calories. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They are quick and easy to prepare, so they can be eaten quickly before going to bed.
Yogurt is a great source of Calcium. research indicates that calcium may be beneficial for your bone health and support better sleep. Another good source of HTML of tryptophan is this food.
Yogurt is high in protein which can make you feel fuller. Consuming casein protein at bedtime may reduce hunger in the morning.
It is best to choose plain varieties if you are going to eat this food as a snack. You can add unsweetened fruits like berries to flavor it.
The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts per day as part of a low-fat diet may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Another indicator is that nuts, especially pistachios have the highest levels of melatonin among plant foods.
The healthiest nuts are unflavored and unsalted. You can also try these types:
- Brazil nuts
- macadamia nuts
Peanuts, although technically considered a legume are a good source of tryptophan. A slice of toast with peanut butter can be a good evening snack since carbohydrates aid the body in absorbing tryptophan.
A 2017 review found that eggs were another rich source of melatonin. They are also good sources of protein with one egg containing 628g.
As an evening snack, a person could have a boiled egg and two oatcakes. They could also make egg and vegetable muffins to freeze for later use.