Some Midnight Snacks are Best Left Until Tomorrow

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If you absolutely have to have a snack, don’t let it be one of these.

I am painfully aware that late-night snacking, either right before bed or after you’ve already gone to bed, is a bad idea in general. Eating certain foods when you’re already tired can throw your body’s metabolic processes out of whack, leading to worsened sleep, weight gain, and occasionally, really weird dreams. You know how they say eating old pizza before bed will give you nightmares? It’s 100% true.

Even so, sometimes you gotta have a little something to nosh on. If at all possible, you should try not to eat anything heavy after you eat dinner for the day, but a little of something healthy like some fresh fruit or nuts won’t mess with you too much. However, there are two things that you absolutely should not eat if you’re within spitting distance of bed time. The first is starchy snacks like chips and pretzels. Not only do those kinds of snacks have no nutritional value at all, their high salt content can cause sweetness cravings. Salty foods before bed are bad enough, you don’t need to be craving chocolate on top of that.

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The other food you should steer clear of may surprise you: cereal. When I was a kid, my dad would often have a bowl of cereal in bed while watching his favorite evening shows. However, it turns out cereal is arguable even worse than the starchy stuff. Most commercial breakfast cereals are nothing but calories and sweeteners, which means not only will eating them before bed make it much harder for you to fall asleep, but they’re almost guaranteed to make you gain weight, especially with added milk.

Your best course of action is to just stay away from the kitchen after you’ve had your last meal for the day. The food will be there tomorrow, so just tell those cravings to go away.