So it’s close to bedtime and you’re hungry. Been there! Going to bed hungry is no fun and can make it harder to sleep, so what you need is a healthy late-night snack. By reaching for a snack that has nutritional value on top of being delicious, you’re doing your body some favors. Plus, the best late-night snack is also one that might just help you fall asleep, too. Ahead, find 10 of our recommendations for healthy late-night snacks.
Kiwis are naturally healthy since they’re fruit, but they’ve also been proven to help with sleep. A 2011 study found that the antioxidants and serotonin in kiwis can help with sleep. Eating one or two of these before bed will satiate your hunger and help you sleep better.
Fruit with peanut butter
An apple or banana with a little bit of natural peanut butter will help you out in a few ways. The sweetness of the fruit will satisfy any sweet cravings you’ve got before bed. The peanut butter will add to the feeling of having a treat, but the protein in it will fill you up so you don’t feel hungry when you head for bed. Fruit also has a nice amount of fiber that goes well with the healthy fats in the peanut butter. It’s an all-around healthy and delicious option.
Did you know pistachios are actually packed with melatonin? They have a high concentration of melatonin in them, which means that eating a handful of these at bedtime will not only give you the nutritional value you need but will also help you sleep. Just one ounce of pistachios is more than 6 grams of melatonin.
Though any yogurt is an okay option before bed, if you can opt for a plain variety or even Greek yogurt, you’ll get more nutrition out of your snack. These don’t have added sugars, and Greek yogurt especially is loaded with protein so that you can go to bed with a full belly.
Nonfat cottage cheese
Cottage cheese has a lot to offer for being such a simple snack. Because it’s dairy, it has calcium in it, plus it has fiber and protein. You can add some fruit of your choice to it for extra sweetness (and fiber) to make it even more well-rounded and delicious.
A protein shake is an easy method to pack a nutritional punch into a bedtime snack. These can obviously vary based on what you’re feeling like having on any particular day, but your protein will fill you up. If you add milk, you’re adding a bit of tryptophan, and depending on if you use fruit, you can also be adding fiber, as well as plenty of vitamins and nutrients.
Tart cherries, just like pistachios, are full of melatonin. You don’t need to eat a lot to reap the benefits. Opt for a small handful a little bit before bedtime to take advantage of their melatonin and you’ll hopefully sleep really well.
Crackers and cheese
Not only is this snack delicious, but it’s also well-balanced. The carbs in the crackers feed your body and brain, and the cheese offers calcium — and tryptophan. The whole combo here means that you’re eating a nutritious snack before bed that will also help you sleep.
These may not be a super exciting snack, but they’re really good for you. You already know that carrots are healthy — low in calories, packed with nutritional value — but they can also stave off other cravings. You can also dip your carrots in a little bit of ranch dressing if it makes them more appealing.
Pumpkin seeds are an easy snack to throw back and they also have two things in them that can help you sleep — magnesium and tryptophan. Both of these are proven to induce sleepiness, and it only takes a handful before bed to satisfy your hunger and also help you sleep better.
These little beans are high in protein and fiber, which means they’ll fill you up quickly and put you in bed with a happy full belly. Grab a handful of these to munch on while you settle in for bed and your stomach will thank you.
Why Should I Eat at 2 AM?
Hunger is managed by the hormone ghrelin. It tells our bodies when we should eat and when we’re not hungry. Studies have shown that ghrelin levels are at their lowest between midnight and 7 a.m. — when we’re sleeping. It’s because of this that most people don’t feel hungry during the night, even if they wake up, and even if it’s been many hours since the last time they ate. Our bodies are simply designed to not be hungry at certain hours.
However, some people’s hormone levels aren’t totally in line, and that means your ghrelin levels will be up and you might wake up at 2 a.m. and feel hungry. If that’s the case, then you should eat, because your body needs the food. If this happens to you, though, try to stick with a healthy snack so that you can fall back asleep quickly and easily.
It’s totally normal and okay to want to have a snack before bedtime. Who doesn’t love to eat? By opting for a healthy snack, though, you’ll not only feel better about what you’re eating, but you might even be helping yourself fall asleep quicker and more easily.