During that interminable stretch of time between the ending of dinner and heading to bed for the night, many find it difficult to resist the siren’s call of the fully stocked refrigerator.
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As you move through the laziest portion of your day, it is understandable, and acceptable even, that you may find yourself wanting to nosh on something tasty. Though you might be able to resist this urge, and if you’ve already eaten your fair-share of calories for the day doing so is likely best, you can give in to your desires without completely undoing your day.
By making smart snacking choices, you cannot only negate the negative impacts of this between-meal munching, you might actually be able to make it dietary beneficial.
- Worst – Chocolate
Chocolate is smooth and melty and tasty… what’s not to love? Well, if you’re looking for a good pre-bedtime choice, lots, actually. Not only is chocolate high in calories, it also contains caffeine.
Though dark chocolate is the largest caffeine bomb, both milk and dark varieties contain enough to transform your restful time between the sheets into a frustrating fit of tossing and turning
- Best – Cherries
Not only are cherries a fruit, i.e., on the healthy part of the plate, they also contain melatonin, a chemical that can help you sleep.
Eating a few of these will likely take the rumble out of your tummy and may even make it easier to slip into sleep once your head hits the pillow.
- Worst – Chips
While there is something soothing about crunching your way through a bag of chips, embarking on this mission right before you go to bed is far from smart. Chips are high in fat.
Along with being bad for your waistline in the long term, these high-fat snacks take a long time to metabolize. As your body works to break down this food all night, you will find yourself unable to sleep as deeply and, as a result, won’t wake up as rested in the morning.
- Best – Cereal
Stop labeling cereal as a breakfast-only treat. Perhaps surprisingly, this AM pick-me-up can also be an effective evening lay-me-down.
The protein and carbs found in cereal, especially fortified ones, encourage your body to produce serotonin. Because this neurotransmitter has a calming effect, it will likely be it easier for you to slip into dreamland.
- Worst – Cheeseburger
A fatty, greasy, gooey cheeseburger can be a tempting treat, particularly if you are exceptionally hungry. This calorie bomb is a horrible pre-sleep option, however.
It’s loaded with fat that, along with making it harder to zip up your jeans in the morning, can stimulate the production of stomach acid which can cause heartburn.
- Best – Turkey and Cheese Roll-up
Get the protein you’re craving without the fat by making a turkey and cheese roll-up. Take a slice of turkey and a slice of cheese and roll the duo into an oh-so-fun-to-eat pinwheel.
As an added bonus, the tryptophan in the turkey will likely lull you to sleep and the casein proteins in cheese may boost your morning-after metabolism.
- Worst – Wine
Settling into bed with the remote and a glass of wine may seem the perfect way to end the day, but doing so will likely result in a restless night, making wine a bad pre-bed indulgence.
Because alcohol metabolizes quickly, you will likely wake more frequently if you sip on wine before you fall asleep. Additionally, alcohol can increase the severity of your snoring, so your partner may suffer from your sipping away at a drink pre-turning-in as well.
- Best – Milk
If you’ve ever seen a sitcom, you’ve almost certainly encountered an instance where a character, settling down for bed, reaches for a glass of warm milk.
Along with coating your tummy and maybe making you feel oh-so-warm, milk contains tryptophan, which induces your brain to produce the sleep-inducing serotonin.