Low fat, high carbohydrates, and high protein snacks should be preferred at night. You usually get up in the middle of the night if the body’s homeostasis offsets. Instances like these include a sudden urge to urinate, getting up feeling hot and sweaty, or in this case; feeling hungry. A strong hunger pang during deep sleep usually suggests low blood sugar. Our bodies tend to adjust exceptionally well to our routines. Thus, consistent food breaks in the middle of sleep may warrant a trip to the doctor. Until then, the following light snacks should be consumed:
Fruits and Dry Fruits
Fruits such as bananas, mangos, grapes, peaches and strawberries are rich in simple and complex carbohydrates. These natural sources of sugar are better tolerated and managed by the body. Thus, preventing the undesirable spike and the subsequent crash in blood glucose. Since low blood sugar is the usual reason why people get up to snack in the middle of the night, fresh fruits are the best midnight snacking option.
A handful of dry fruits, especially almonds and pistachios, can be consumed as midnight snacks. Although they have a relatively higher fat content, they are nutrient-dense and high-calorie foods with several benefits. Keep them close, on your bedside table.
Energy bars are high in carbohydrates and are meant to cause a faster spike in your sugar. If you are frequently feeling lightheaded and hungry in the middle of the night, then go for the handy energy bars.
Greek Yogurt and Cheese Crackers
Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics which makes it a healthy midnight snack. But what’s interesting about dairy products is that they contain calcium and tryptophan that are used as raw material by the brain to produce melatonin, the natural sleeping hormone. Pair a small serving of yoghurt with fresh fruit and prepare for a peaceful sleep.
High in protein and cholesterol, eggs are a staple breakfast item. But boiled eggs make a great snack, especially if you’re an athlete who got up in the middle of the night with muscle cramps. Eggs are a great snack for muscle rest and recovery.
Whether you like it sweet or savoury, oatmeal is a great snack that provides instant energy.
Protein or Creatine Shakes
These are usually recommended as late-night snacks for bodybuilders or athletes who want to prevent muscle cramps and speed up recovery. If you have just started working out, then a protein shake is a great option for preventing sleep interruptions due to muscle pain.
Foods to Avoid Eating in the Middle of the Night
Studies have shown that deliberately getting up in the middle of the night, only to snack, has detrimental effects on the heart. Frequent and consistent disruption of the circadian rhythm, our body’s natural clock, can also decrease cognition. Our brain needs a long, uninterrupted sleep ranging from six to twelve hours, depending on your age group. The following foods release pro-inflammatory markers after consumption. Moreover, lack of quality sleep or its frequent interruption is associated with a weakened immune system. Hence, try drinking fruit juices, protein shakes, or light snacks just before hitting the bed so that you don’t have to repeatedly wake up in the middle of the night. Avoid the following foods:
High in fats and refined sugars, ice creams must be avoided as a late-night snack. You may wake up feeling more tired due to the sudden crash that follows after ice cream’s sugar clearance.
This is what most people may prefer but try not to make it a habit. The fresher the food, the lesser amounts of free oxygen radicals and bacteria it carries.
Bakery Items such as Cakes, Chocolate, Biscuits, and Cookies
These are loaded with sugar and preservatives. They can instantly give you the desired sugar spike but can leave you feeling tired. Moreover, they have a higher number of pro-inflammatory mediators that are released from their trans fatty acids.
Finally, there are several options you can choose from but avoid high-fat foods and having an entire meal in the middle of the night; since this can disrupt sleep and proper digestion. A light snack is all you need. Maybe pop in some melatonin pills before you hit the bed to avoid waking up after sleeping.