When it comes to healthy-eating rules, we often hear about the perils of eating in the evening.
When hunger strikes late at night, we’re often warned to stay away from the kitchen for fear of sabotaging our dieting or putting off sleep.
However, eating the right foods at night can actually be okay, as long as you’re not hitting up the drive-thru or pulling out a pint of ice cream from the freezer.
In reality, it’s the types of foods that people eat at night that cause issues, not the actual time, so if you make the right choices, you don’t have to go to bed starving.
Next time you’re wondering what to eat as your midnight snack, try eating one of these seven foods that are okay to eat near bedtime.
Foods with a high glycemic index (especially jasmine rice in particular), have been shown to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep at night, according to a study published in the journal American Society for Clinical Nutrition.
Nuts are a satiating snack that contain nutrients that act as a natural sleep aid. Research shows that nuts, particularly brazil nuts, help with sleep, as they contain important vitamins and minerals such as potassium and selenium.
Research shows that eating cheese before bed can help people not only get to sleep faster, but even have more pleasant dreams. Pair cheese with a small piece of bread or crackers, but be sure not to eat too much, as cheese is high in fat and could cause disruption in your sleep if you have a large amount.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a light snack that contain a high amount of tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, which helps to induce sleep. Sprinkle some on greek yogurt or a small bowl of low-sugar oatmeal for a healthy bedtime treat.
If you have a sweet tooth at night, cherries are a great all-natural option to satisfy your craving. Not only are they sweet and tasty, but they are a natural source of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycles.
Enjoy a little salad with avocado or spread some of the fruit on toast for a filling and sleep-inducing snack. Avocado is a good source of magnesium, and studies show that the nutrient helps improve people’s quality of sleep.
7. Canned Tuna
Tuna is filled with healthy fats and protein, making it a good choice before bed, especially if you plan to work out in the morning. Make a mini tuna sandwich or spread some tuna over some toast or crackers for a light but nourishing snack.
As for the foods you should avoid before bedtime, you probably already know that coffee and wine are likely to keep you awake. The obvious culprit in coffee is the caffeine. And wine, while it may make you drowsy and help you initially fall asleep is likely to be disruptive in the later stages, leaving you groggy the next day.
A lesser-known sleep interrupter? High-protein foods like steak.
Why? High-protein foods are harder to break down, so they’ll keep your digestive system working hard when you want your body to be in relaxation mode so you can get some shuteye.