If you’re fast asleep at midnight, you’re probably not thinking about food. If you happen to be awake, however, whether because of work, stress or random insomnia, you may feel a bit hungry. Most meal planners don’t talk about the midnight snack, so how do you decide what, if anything, you should eat (https://longevity.technology/lifestyle/what-to-eat-at-midnight-when-youre-hungry-but-cant-sleep/)?
Don’t just grab the first thing you see. The wrong food could prevent you from getting back to sleep or disturb the balance of nutrients that you should always be trying to cultivate with your diet. Balance and moderation are vital. Don’t pile up food on your plate; eat portions small to avoid indigestion.
There is room for some variation. The obvious stereotype is a warm drink, perhaps an herbal tea. Chamomile is a popular choice. Avoid caffeinated beverages like black tea or coffee because they’re stimulants and definitely won’t help you relax. If you’re not having a hot drink, do have a glass of water with your snack because dehydration is never helpful.
When it comes to actual food, it depends a little on how much preparation you’re willing to do and how many dishes you want to have to clean afterward. Oatmeal requires a little more work, but it’s warm and sustaining, with the right sort of carbs to stop you from waking up hungry again. You could add milk or your preferred butter alternative for extra protein.
For something light, cool and simple, but again with a good and sustaining balance of nutrients, try a bowl of yogurt. Some fruit and nuts on top can make it a little more satisfying while boosting the vitamin content. Bananas are another light, sweet option. The tryptophan in bananas can help your sleep hormones.
Want something savory? Toast is always a good option, but don’t overdo the spread. The modern way to do it is to use hummus, which is nutritionally rich and full of flavor. Choose whole wheat over white every time. At every stage, what you’re trying to do is avoid processed snacks that are full of salt, sugar, bad types of fat and not much else.
You do have options if you wake up at midnight and need something to eat, but you still need to choose carefully. Whether it’s hot or cold, sweet or savory, try to combine complex carbohydrates and proteins with other nutrient boosts.