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Is going to bed hungry better than late-night snacking

Many have often wondered which is worse for weight loss and overall health: snacking late at night or going to bed hungry. Learn what experts have to say on the subject as part of your ongoing weight loss education.

The Best Sleep

“For optimal sleep it’s best not to go to bed too hungry or too full,” says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D. “Eating late at night, right before you hit the hay can cause poor digestion issues, bloating, and inadequate sleep, which can lead to decreased energy levels and fatigue.”

Night after night of poor sleep can also lead to weight gain, especially if you are consuming too many calories or empty calories before you go to bed.

The Best Bedtime Snacks

Moskovitz recommends rating your hunger level on a scale from one to 10. If it is five or below, she suggests having a glass or water or cup of tea instead of eating a snack. If you are truly hungry, eat something under 200 calories. Whole-grain toast, popcorn, and high-fiber cereal are all ideal, because they release serotonin and make you feel calm and sleepy. Avoid high-fiber and high-fat foods, because they take longer to digest and interrupt your sleep.

Additional Tips

Help yourself avoid late-night cravings by enjoying a filling dinner. Ask yourself whether your hunger is real if you feel the urge to eat after 7pm.

“For most, eating after dinner is usually not caused by true hunger but out of boredom or stress,” says Moskovitz.

If your craving is caused by boredom or stress, distract yourself by talking to friends or family members, watching a favorite TV show, reading, or looking up funny videos on your phone. These and other distractions help you forget about that donut on the kitchen counter.

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