Having some spicy food or a big greasy cheeseburger and fries as a snack (or meal) right before bedtime can be problematical, to say the least. However, if you are hungry before bedtime, there are some foods to snack on that not only will help you sleep but aid in your digestive process and weight control at the same time.
Now, while carbohydrates might help you snooze, they fall way short in the weight-control arena. Instead, slow-digesting proteins will provide a steady flow of amino acids as you sleep to help sustain lean muscle and control your weight. Done right and in the right proportions, they also will help you snooze.
First, try white meat animal protein, such as chicken and turkey. Both help release the hormone glucagon, which helps break down stored carbohydrates, and for most of us, stored carbohydrates generally equate to fat tissue. Turkey has the added benefit of tryptophan, a good sleep-inducing hormone, as we all know from Thanksgiving turkey consumption.
Plain cottage cheese is another great source for glucagon, and as it dissolves slowly in the stomach, it too helps control weight and does not interfere with sleep. Just choose plain cottage cheese, not fruit-laden or flavored.
How about green vegetables for a snack? They’re not protein, but they certainly are a nutritious addition — and conclusion — to your day’s eating. They too won’t interfere with your sleep. Nor will they pack on carby/sugary fat.
A protein shake is another good bedtime treat, which if done right (and not overladen with sugary stuff), can be like a dessert before sack time.
So there are indeed solid protein options for pre-bed snacks. Though carbs might satisfy your palate and tummy more and even help with your drowsiness, if you’re concerned about your weight, protein is the way to go. And if you can get glucagon while digesting the protein, so much the better for lean muscle sustenance and weight control.