There is no shame in admitting we all sneak over to the kitchen for a late night snack. Having had your dinner at 6-ish or earlier would have you go into late night cravings around midnight since it takes 6-8 hours for food to digest. That is why it is often encouraged to start getting ready for bed somewhere around 9 to 11 in the evening so you wouldn’t catch yourself hovering over the fridge.
BUT, if you just could not bring yourself to get some shut-eye and the stomach is calling out to you louder than your bed, here are some foods and drinks that you should and should NOT have.
1. Foods High in Melatonin
Melatonin basically helps your natural body clock especially with your sleep cycles. When you have high melatonin, you have higher chances of getting sleepy. Melatonin is naturally produced by the body but if you need some help on getting your snooze on, go for fruits like cherries, pineapples, or barley.
2. Complex Carbohydrates
Carbs in general can cause drowsiness. Complex carbs release tryptophan, an amino acid that triggers sleepiness. Go for the complex carbs instead of the simple carbs. Simple carbs contain more starchy and sugary components. Try sweet potato, fortified cereal or quinoa.
3. A Glass of Wine
Actually, a glass of any alcoholic drink will bring you into this relaxed buzz because of its sedative effect. But other alcoholic drinks such as beer or hard drinks may have other undesired health effects like bloatedness and waking up groggy in the morning. Just make sure to have only one glass! Go beyond the moderate amount and you’re in for a bumpy night since this will end up in waking up frequently.
4. Warm Drinks
Warm drinks lean more towards the relaxing effect when you sip on your favorite warm beverage. There is something about a nice warm feeling in your stomach that brings you to a peaceful state. The popular warm beverage for many is usually warm milk or tea. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid causing drowsiness, as well so that is an added benefit. On the other hand, drinking tea has not had any record of it fully contributing to sleepiness, according to some researchers.
Chocolates, can increase heart rate and makes going to sleep even more difficult. Dark chocolate, especially, contains caffeine and it’s most likely going to keep you up longer at night.
2. Energy Drinks
Coffee and energy drinks are obvious culprits that will keep you up at night. As the name promotes, it is meant to boost your energy. Your aim is to lower your energy and put you in a restful state. Energy drinks especially, contain a larger dose of caffeine and sugar, which explains why your brain is on full alert mode after consumption. That said sugary drinks such as soda should also be avoided.
Chicken or any meat is high in protein. Meat takes longer to digest. Instead of your body focusing on sleep and relaxation, it will go on full work mode to digest those chicken leftovers you just so guiltlessly finished off from your plate. You’re definitely going to be able to catch up on those late night TV shows after that.
4. Spicy Food
Even if you are a lover of the spicy kind, eating spicy dishes before bed still isn’t a wise choice. Eating spicy food can lead to heartburn as well since your digestive system is meant to take a break in these late hours.
Most spicy food doesn’t really appear in the form of snacks. Often times they are heavy munchies leaving you too full.
Be reminded, your consumption of any food or drinks before bed should be at a low or moderate amount. Indulging yourself in anything regardless of whatever nutrients it may have will just result to you getting too full. This will just put your stomach in an uncomfortable situation. Just have enough to curb that hunger as you wait to drift off to sleep.