Main menu


Without gaining weight.. Know the best food to eat before bed

There is a misconception that eating too close to bedtime will lead to weight gain, but eating certain foods before bed may actually provide some benefits. If you're looking for an after-dinner snack, protein is your best bet. Increase your calorie burn per day Protein comes in all shapes and sizes from plant to animal sources, from firm to liquid, which is why protein is the best food to eat before bed.

Protein helps restore and build muscle mass:

One of the benefits of eating protein before bed is its role in tissue repair. Your body is constantly using the protein you consume throughout the day to repair, rebuild and rebuild tissues within your body. However, consuming protein before bed provides a dose of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, for use in maintaining tissues throughout the day. At night, getting this extra nighttime protein is especially beneficial for anyone trying to build muscle tissue or gain weight.

Plus, while you sleep, your body naturally increases its production of growth hormone, which aids in tissue repair. Getting these amino acids from protein allows you to take full advantage of this natural spike in growth hormone.

Protein helps increase metabolism:

Another benefit of consuming protein before bed is that it has a high thermogenic effect. This refers to the natural increase in calorie burning that occurs after eating to calculate the energy needed to digest, metabolize and absorb food.

While all nutrients, carbohydrates, fats and protein provide some degree of thermogenic effect, protein provides the highest amount, meaning, after eating protein-rich foods, you will burn more calories than if you had equivalent amounts of carbohydrates or foods containing fat.

In an effort to make the most of the calories you consume before bed, protein provides more benefits than eating carbohydrates or fats.

Protein improves the quality of your sleep:

Some sources of protein, such as turkey, fatty fish and some nuts, may help improve the quality of your sleep. For example, turkey and almonds contain an amino acid called tryptophan. This nutrient aids in the production of melatonin which may promote fatigue and aid in overall sleep quality.

Fatty fish and walnuts are other sources of protein that may aid sleep, and both foods contain omega-3 fatty acids. This form of heart-healthy fat has been shown to increase production of serotonin, a hormone that promotes feelings of rest and is also believed to aid sleep. Studies published in the journal Nutrients have a direct link between eating omega-3 polyunsaturated fats before bed and improving sleep efficiency as well as falling asleep faster.

Finally, walnuts naturally contain melatonin, and when ingested they can increase the blood concentration of this hormone, which plays a key role in the sleep-wake cycle.

Best sources of protein before bed:

Protein can be found in a variety of foods. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy and soy products are great options when looking for concentrated protein sources. You can grab a few bites of leftover meat from dinner, enjoy a boiled egg, have some Greek yogurt with walnuts, a glass of milk, or make protein shakes as different ways to enjoy your nightly protein.

All of these options are perfectly acceptable, just keep in mind that you should focus on protein and minimize carbs and fat. A snack rich in all three macronutrients is likely to be high in calories and can contribute to calorie intake and weight gain.