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The Late-Night Snack Trap: Breaking the Cycle for Better Sleep

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In addition to the potential for weight gain, research indicates that consuming a meal before sleeping carries additional health risks. Let's delve into some of them.

Reclining shortly after a meal increases the likelihood of stomach contents regurgitating or “refluxing” into the esophagus, thereby precipitating nighttime heartburn. Vulnerability to such reflux escalates during the night, particularly when the stomach has not been fully emptied by bedtime. Consequently, nighttime heartburn can potentially prevent one from getting restful sleep, leading to sleep disturbances and insomnia.

Furthermore, research reveals a direct correlation between the timing of bedtime eating and the frequency of nighttime awakenings. As a rule of thumb, nutrition experts suggest allowing roughly three hours to separate your last meal from your bedtime, ideally around 9 pm.

Not all foods are created equal when it comes to bedtime consumption. It is advisable to steer clear of hard-to-digest, fatty, greasy eatables and those items high in sugar that can cause our blood sugar levels to rapidly climb and then crash. Things containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate are best to avoid particularly as bedtime approaches. Caffeine operates by blocking the action of adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleepiness.

So, what should we opt for when it comes to late-night snacks? If you find yourself genuinely hungry, choosing steamed or raw vegetables is your best bet. However, if you're craving something sweet, there are some fruit-based options that won't wreak havoc on your diet, and today, we'll share a couple of them.

Why not contemplate savoring a delightful and potentially sleep-enhancing snack: a modest-sized banana accompanied by approximately 16 grams of unsweetened almond butter? This harmonious pairing, which registers at a total of 190 calories, goes beyond achieving satiety; it also presents intriguing prospects for improving your sleep quality.

Intriguingly, kiwis have also been linked to improved sleep quality. In a small-scale study involving individuals grappling with sleep difficulties, participants adopted a nightly routine of consuming two kiwis one hour before bedtime. These individuals meticulously documented their sleep patterns using sleep diaries and wristwatch monitors. Remarkably, after one month of this kiwi-infused bedtime habit, participants reported a noteworthy 35% reduction in the time required to fall asleep. Their slumber was also extended by approximately 13%, with a corresponding 5% improvement in sleep quality.
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