Some days, the idea of a nibble post-sup does nothing for us at all. Maybe we ate dinner later than usual, or we’re at a point in our cycle where we are simply satisfied. We have an appreciation for those days.
Other times, we’re harder to satisfy. We absolutely need (not want, need) a sweet bite after dinner, and later before we’re drifting off, we get that insatiable hankering for more snacks. How do we fight the craving for late-night munchies? Do we power through and try to snooze it off?
Despite what many fasting fads say, it’s not the best idea to go to bed actually straight-up hungry. This is especially true for women. Our hormones hang in a delicate balance, and blood sugar majorly affects this balance. If we go to bed hungry, we may find ourselves wide awake around 3 a.m., seemingly inexplicably.
This is due to a fasting, or nocturnal hypoglycemia, a reaction meaning our blood glucose levels dip too low and our body begins to produce cortisol so that we have the energy to go and find necessary food. It’s a survival tactic. Since we are (typically) not surely dying in this scenario and simply trying to cut back on nighttime cals, this can be frustrating.
Sleep is a vital part of holistic wellness, including weight loss, so getting a solid night’s rest is even more important than fasting for that extra hour. Thus, when we need a late-night snack, science says to lean into it.
The truth of the matter is, it all comes down to options. We want to stick with small, nutrient-dense, low-energy foods or single macronutrients. Think a carb or protein. Our bodies will burn this up while we sleep and use the energy to regenerate cells and clean house. We are a well-oiled machine—trust that input to be put to use! Here are some of our favorite options.
Instead of binging a high-sugar pint of ice cream, go for probiotic- and protein-rich yogurt, instead. The plain flavor is tart, so if you need more sweetness, a drizzle of honey will be just enough carbs to power you through a restful night’s sleep while fueling your muscles for the morning.
Hummus is a super clean protein source and a great savory treat. We like it on some grain-free seed crisps or gluten-free crackers for a little extra protein kick, but something hydrating like cucumbers or carrots will also fuel you up for some restorative beauty sleep!
We know it sounds a little backward to have this breakfast food late in the evening, but it’s the perfect snack. A small serving of warm, soft, comforting oats is a great option to coat the tummy for rest. It’s a complex carb that will break down slowly in the digestive tract to prevent blood sugar dips or spikes that disrupt rest. Also, it can be tailored to your craving—try it with a dollop of yogurt for tartness, or go sweet with cacao nibs and a drizzle of honey. You can even try it savory with some scallions and miso. Get creative.
If it’s not so much hunger that’s keeping you from shut-eye but rather a voracious desire for something crunchy, whip up some fresh popcorn! Skip the microwavable stuff and make some on the stovetop. No need to be intimidated, it’s super easy—all you need is a fat (butter, olive, coconut, or avocado oil) and some organic kernels, et voilà. The pre-packaged stuff has all kinds of hydrogenated faux butter and chemicals. Plus, making it on the stovetop gives you free rein for customization—sweet or savory. It’s low in calories and high in fiber—just make sure to floss well before calling it a night.
When your sweets cravings are at an all-time high but you’d rather avoid candy and cookies this late in the evening, a generous spoonful of nut butter will definitely satisfy you! Mix it with a little honey or maple for that extra sweetness and simple carb. The protein will digest slowly and fuel your body. It’s the best solution.
Crunchy, chewy, satiating, protein-rich pumpkin seeds (shell on for extra texture and chew-factor) are an ideal bedtime munchie. Aside from being totally satisfying, they are an excellent source of magnesium and tryptophan, two compounds that help us relax and sleep. They are also full of zinc, which helps our brain make serotonin out of tryptophan. Imagining sweet dreams …
Shop our sleep collection:
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.