Updated October 18, 2020Many believe the metabolism shuts down during sleep, making it a bad idea to eat late at night because of potential weight gain. However, your metabolism ebbs and flows during sleep, ultimately staying consistent with your waking metabolism. It may even be a good idea to eat at night; it has been shown we are hungriest at night, and not eating when you’re hungry could cause problems like trouble falling asleep.Although it is a good idea to snack if you’re hungry at night, the type of snack you have is critical. The best late-night snacks are made with foods to promote good sleep and are below 400 calories, plus packed with healthy nutrients.In our list of healthy late-night snacks, we discuss our 10 favorite, easy-to-grab middle-of-the-night bites and talk about what makes certain snacks better for you than others.1. Milk and CerealAlthough it may surprise you to see a “breakfast” food on this list, milk and cereal is an excellent dish to help you fall asleep. Of course, you should avoid sugary, unhealthy cereals to avoid energy spikes. Brittany Ford, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, also suggests pairing your cereal with full-fat milk or coconut milk to balance carbs and further prevent an energy spike late at night.High-fat milk with sugar-free cereal, or homemade grain-free and sugar-free granola, are Brittany’s recommendations. 2. Cottage Cheese and RaspberriesCottage cheese has lean protein in it to boost serotonin, and increased serotonin has been shown to potentially help you sleep more easily at night. Raspberries will also aid with sleep due to their melatonin content. For a slightly sweeter taste, try adding a drizzle of raw honey, another natural sleep aid.One half-cup of cottage cheese combined with one half-cup of fresh raspberries contains approximately 112 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 13 grams of fat.3. EdamameEdamame, when topped with a pinch of salt, makes for a great snack for those experiencing salty food cravings. Edamame is fantastic before bed because it is rich in magnesium, causing muscle relaxation and inducing a sleep state. It also contains compounds called soy isoflavones, and these have been found to potentially increase the duration of sleep, making edamame excellent for those who wake frequently throughout the night. Additionally, edamame is high in protein and fiber, both of which promote peaceful rest.One and one half-cup serving of edamame has only about 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 9 grams of carbs.4. Cheese and CrackersAlthough cheese at night may sound like a strange idea, it is high in calcium—a mineral known to produce melatonin. Cheese is also high in protein and tryptophan, an amino acid aiding in serotonin production to help sleep. For a nourishing snack, pair your favorite cheese with whole-grain crackers. Another option is to pair cheese with fresh apple slices.One and one quarter-cup worth of shredded cheese paired with three large whole-grain crackers is approximately 174 calories, with 9 grams of fat and 12 grams of carbs.5. Dried Tart Cherries and AlmondsAlmonds contain large amounts of magnesium, which can help you sleep, as well as tryptophan and potassium. Potassium regulates muscle contractions and has been shown to make you feel sleepy. At the same time, tart cherries naturally have large melatonin quantities, with melatonin being the hormone responsible for sleepiness.A serving of one and one-quarter cup of almonds and one third-cup of dried tart cherries has approximately 282 calories, with 11 grams of fat and 38 grams of carbs.6. Applesauce and Chopped WalnutsApplesauce and walnuts offer a combination of health benefits; apples are easy to digest to help you sleep more peacefully throughout the night without an upset stomach. Naturally sweet foods, like unsweetened applesauce, reduce orexin, a neurotransmitter in your brain made to induce sleep. Additionally, walnuts are healthy for you and have tryptophan in them to keep you on a proper sleep cycle.To make, take a half cup of unsweetened applesauce, combine with a one-eighth cup of chopped walnuts and sprinkle with cinnamon. This snack is approximately 146 calories and has 0 grams of fat and 27 grams of carbs.7. GrapesGrapes are another option when looking for a bed-time snack; they can help you fall asleep at night as they are a great source of melatonin. You can eat grapes either fresh or frozen. Frozen grapes are a refreshing summer snack when you’re trying to beat the heat.A one-cup serving of grapes is equal to about 104 calories and has 0 grams of fat and 27 grams of carbs.8. Tomatoes and Cream Cheese on ToastTomatoes contain small amounts of melatonin to potentially aid you in falling asleep. Cream cheese contains sleep-inducing calcium. When paired with whole-grain toast, this snack also has complex carbohydrates to make you feel full. To make this healthy snack, spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese on a slice of whole-grain toast, then top with a few tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper for flavor.Each slice is extremely low calorie and has only around 59 calories, with 2 grams of fat and 7g of carbs.9. Kale ChipsKale chips are crispy and salty, so they’re the perfect replacement when you’re craving not-so-healthy potato chips. They are also rich in calcium to assist you when falling asleep. They are among our tastiest low-calorie snacks and contain less than 150 calories.A one-cup serving of kale chips has approximately 147 calories, 10g of fat, and 13g of carbs.10. EggsA versatile food, you can eat an egg hard-boiled, make an omelet, or scramble it. Eggs are protein-rich and full of tryptophan, making this another snack to make you sleepy at bedtime. For a simple late-night snack, try sprinkling a hard-boiled egg with some salt or pepper.One hard-boiled egg has about 78 calories, 5g of fat, and 1g of carbs.What Makes Some Snacks Better Before Bed?Snacking late at night is sometimes necessary; however, what you eat at night matters a great deal. Opt for fresh fruit and low-carb veggies; these are packed with nutrients good for your body. “Although you may be hungry at night and eat a healthy snack in response, it’s important to remember the role food will play on your sleep quality. Rather than being concerned about how eating late at night can impact metabolism, it’s a negative impact on sleep duration, latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), REM sleep, deep sleep and sleep consistency (how often you wake up throughout the night) is much more concerning,” says Brittany Ford, RHN. Avoid harder-to-digest food, like snacks with, sugar, or salt, as they will make it more challenging to sleep. Look for the following in your bedtime snacks; sometimes, your snack can even make you sleepy!Low Calorieit can be easy to over-snack if you frequently feel hungry before bed, but going over your recommended calorie intake for the day by overeating before bed can lead to weight gain and other health problems. To avoid excess calorie intake and weight gain, keep your late-night snacks below 400 calories.Low SugarIt can be a good idea to ease up on eating sweet foods at night, as “sugar spikes” caused by eating excess sugar can disrupt sleep. Stick to snacks with low sugar to help stabilize your blood sugar, and keep your body well.Rich in Melatonin or TryptophanMelatonin is the sleep hormone our body produces naturally. To facilitate better rest, you can boost your natural melatonin levels through diet. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid serving many purposes and is critical for humans. It plays a crucial role in creating serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with both sleep and mood.FAQsIs it okay to snack before bed?Eating a couple of hours before bed will disrupt the body’s ability to recognize it is time for rest and shift the focus to digesting the food. We often see a decrease in deep sleep and an increase in latency when we eat too close to our bedtime. It also impacts our heart health by increasing our resting heart rate and decreasing our heart rate variability (HRV).Although it may not be a good idea to snack every night before bed due to calorie intake, it is better to have a healthy snack before bed than to sleep while hungry. Sleeping while hungry could make it harder to rest, interrupt your sleep schedule, and even make you feel nauseous upon waking.Your best bet is eating a balanced small snack, with complex carbohydrates, healthy fat, and complete protein at least two hours before you go to sleep. Even having a tablespoon of nut butter with maybe a small drizzle of raw honey can be enough to put us back to sleep easily. Will eating before bed make me gain weight?The idea that eating late at night will always make you gain weight is a myth; what you eat is much more important than when you eat. Although some studies show people who eat at night tend to gain more weight, studies also show late-night snackers tend to gravitate towards high-calorie, unhealthy food. Excess calories will always cause increased weight, but if you keep your snacks small and good for you, there’s no reason to worry.Why do I get junk food cravings at night?The body’s internal clock increases hunger and cravings when the sun goes down, due to the necessity to eat at night centuries ago. Often, cravings are for foods high in starch and fat. Eating at night is no longer necessary for survival, but we still get the same cravings. Stick with low-calorie, high-nutrient snacks to satisfy cravings and maintain a healthy weight.Why does turkey make me sleepy?Turkey contains high levels of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that can make you sleepy. Due to this, half a turkey sandwich is another excellent snack you can have at night (a full sandwich is likely to be too filling). Another reason people often feel tired after eating turkey is simply because they usually just ate a large amount of meat, making them feel sluggish.What snacks are good for weight loss?Low-calorie, healthy snacks will encourage weight loss and a good night’s sleep; fresh fruit and veggies make for a superb option. For a simple, low-calorie snack, try a handful of grapes (fresh or frozen). Each cup is about 100 calories, packed with nutrients and healthy carbs, plus it’s delicious!ConclusionChoosing a healthy snack can make all the difference in acquiring a good night’s rest. It’s also essential to keep the calories low because it can be very easy to go over what should be your daily calorie intake when you snack at night. If you find your stomach growling before bed, use our list of curated snacks to put together something light, healthy, and satisfying; when eating right at night, you can enjoy a more peaceful sleep.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.