Sleep is extremely important. Deep sleep (REM- Rapid Eye Movement) is the best sleep to be in, so our bodies can not only heal themselves more efficiently, but burn more calories. One of the best ways to achieve REM sleep is to go to bed at the same times every night and get around 8 hours. Although this may be difficult to achieve, it's worth it in the long run. So, what should we eat before bedtime if we are craving something to fill our bellies?
First we should answer a couple basic questions:
Do we still burn calories while we sleep? Yes.
Do our bodies burn fewer calories while sleeping? Yes.
Does muscle mass affect calories burned while sleeping? Yes.
With these three basic questions answered, we can attack the foods that are to be eaten before slumber. Although we do burn calories while sleeping, we must consider what sleep is doing. Sleep is repairing the body and readying it for another day of work. If we can give our body some added protein before the rest period, our bodies will have extra building blocks to repair tissues.
Ice cream, cereal and other late night snacks not only spike your sugar levels and decrease the quality of sleep, but they just fill your body with sugars that are often converted to fat.
Goal: If you must eat something before bed, try and stick with something that is lower in carbs and higher in protein. A spoonful of peanut butter, cottage cheese or greek yogurt may do the trick. Eat just enough to where you are satisfied, but not "full." This will help you make it through the night and increase REM sleep.
Eating a healthy dinner with plenty of quality foods (veggies and proteins) will help prevent junk food cravings when it comes time to sleep. Also, increasing muscle mass through the strength training programs will help you burn more fat throughout the day and at night. There are plenty of these programs here on Interval Athlete!
The benefits of sleeping well and eating well far outweigh any crash diet or crazy diet program. When was the last time you regretted getting a full night's sleep?
Quality Nutrition = Quality Training
Eating smart not only makes your feel better and exercise more efficiently but aids in a lifestyle that is less prone to disease and other health complications.