At about 11 p.m. every night, long after dinner and just before bed, I often find myself hankering for a snack. Instead of settling for some chamomile tea, I usually want something rather heavy (read: nachos), or abundantly filled with chocolate. There's just something comforting about it, you know? But rumor has it, a lot of foods prevent sleep, and nighttime eating apparently isn't all that good for you.
And certain heavier snacks --like the ones I often crave and salivate over-- are just awful for the quality of your snooze.
Elite Daily spoke with naturopathic physician Maria Geyman, who lends some insight about which foods will totally ruin your beauty sleep if you eat them just before bed. She reiterates that eating before you go to bed really isn't a good idea in general, since, while your body is supposed to be restoring, it becomes busy with metabolizing instead.
But hey, we're only human. Chances are, we're probably going to sneak in a snack or two before it's time to shut the lights. Just be sure not to reach for one of these seven foods.
1. Ice Cream
According to Geryman, “dairy gets turned into sugar really quickly,” and ice cream is already high in sugar as it is, which boosts your blood sugar and energy levels. Additionally, dairy can be difficult for some people to digest, and your body certainly doesn't want to deal with that when it's trying to decompress after a long day.
2. Chocolate Cake
Geyman points out that chocolate contains caffeine, so in any of its forms, it's going to give you a boost of energy that you don't need before you go to sleep. And again, the sugar -- it'll get ya.
3. Buffalo Wings
Don't let the protein deceive you. “Anything that has sauce is going to be high in sugar,” says Geyman.
So yeah, those leftover buffalo wings or chicken tenders dipped into that BBQ sauce you found in the back of your fridge are not going to leave you sleeping peacefully.
4. Fries And Ketchup
While these bad boys may look mighty appealing at 3 a.m. after a few beers, you're better off sticking with sweet potato and skipping the ketchup, which is another condiment that's deceptively high in sugar.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are not as high on the glycemic index, meaning they don't turn to sugar as quickly, and have a slower energy release as opposed to a spike.
Between the dairy and the carbs, pizza just isn't a great choice for a midnight snack. Anything high in carbs is going to make you feel sluggish and tired by the time you wake up the next morning, says Geyman.
6. Fruit Smoothies
While this one might surprise you, a hefty smoothie is chock-full of sugars and energy you're simply not going to use when you're about to go to sleep. Plus, a smoothie can really spike your insulin levels.
"The only fruits that don't cause an insulin spike are berries,” say Geyman, and she adds that if you have berries at night, you should probably still pair it with a protein like nut butter to slow digestion.
Similar to pizza, the dairy and carbs are going to be hard to digest. The dairy turns to sugar, and it'll do nothing good for your energy levels in the morning.
Geyman says if you have a hankering at night, nuts are typically a good choice, since they even out your cortisol levels and don't cause a sugar high. Beans and kefir are pretty unobtrusive alternatives, as well.
So, it's up to you -- the snack, or the sleep.