Evening craving can be like a siren’s call. For some, especially those who eat an early dinner, there is a constant test of wills between discipline and hunger. The nature of these cravings differs from person to person. No matter how many times you open the fridge in the evening, though, it can help to know just what snacks your body should and shouldn’t be getting in these crucial hours. With consequences for weight and sleep in mind, here is a quick guide to late-night eating recommendations.

Nutrition First

There are conflicting schools of thought and reports regarding how you should be eating before bed. Here is a general rule of thumb regarding what practices or foods to avoid. Nutritionist Summer Sanders clears the air as to how we should approach evening eating: “It’s really more about what you’re eating versus when”. She goes on to say that dense, low-nutrient meals before bed can lead to weight gain although small nutrient-rich can go a long way for your body. This is not to say that you should go to bed hungry and ditch evening meals altogether. It’s all about balancing on the line of sleep disruption through hunger or sleep disruption from over-eating. Consensus is, the best thing you can do is to reach for the healthy snack at bedtime, not the bag of chips.

Discipline Second

It is best practice to fast around 3 hours prior to bed if possible after having had a proper, healthy dinner. As stated previously, the key to proper night-time eating is content over timing. The benefits of a small and healthy snack before bedtime include: less blood sugar drops in the morning, avoiding middle of the night wake-ups due to hunger, and muscles can benefit from protein over time. First of all, examine why you are reaching for something to eat.  Are you really hungry? Is it just a habit? Is this snack due to boredom or rewarding yourself for something good or bad? Examining your motivations to eat when you are not hungry can lead to positive insight which can lead to healthy change. If you can work on curbing those cravings for junk food from a position of personal growth, so much the better.

Digestion & Sleep

It has been observed that high-fat meals lower sleep efficiency and rapid-eye-movement sleep. This may be caused by many small arousals in the middle of the night which add up to regular sleep disturbance. Activation of digestion and bathroom breaks also contribute to body disturbances resulting in erosion of deep sleep. Rats that were given large, high-fat diets for 8 weeks were reported to have lower activity levels and slept longer according to thesleepdoctor.org. It stands to reason that all our systems need proper rest during the night. If you wake up in the middle of the night it is probably the worst time to prepare a Dagwood sandwich.

Avoid Alcohol

It bears emphasizing that in the interest of health and sleep quality, alcohol before bed is out of the question. Alcohol can be high in calorie content and disrupts sleep architecture, classifying it as a killer combination for natural and beneficial sleep. Alcohol causes sleep disturbance which may lead to more midnight snacking and the spiral is set in motion. You can learn more from our article on this important topic dedicated to covering the overall impact of alcohol and sleep behaviour.

Good Snack Habits

Working Zenbev Drink Mix into your evening routine can strike out all these complications at one blow. Zenbev clocks in as the healthiest sleep aid with next to no fat and few carbohydrates relative to most snacks on offer.  Making a regular habit of a soothing mug of Zenbev, either Chocolate or Lemon flavor, is a substantial, relaxing snack that will not cause digestion issues and will go a long way to calming anxiety and significantly improving your sleep. When you have this healthy “snack” worked into your evening routine, there will be little temptation to binge on too much food, healthy or otherwise.

If you are working on taking your sleep hygiene seriously, the bottom line is: avoid large, complex meals that risk putting your body into overtime and if you must snack, stick to small, single-nutrient snacks that benefit your sleep and body in the long term. The all-natural tryptophan content of Zenbev works wonders to help your body naturally induce a deep, uninterrupted sleep and makes a brilliant evening treat.