Insomnia and Night-time Noshing

A couple of nights ago, I had a horrible case of insomnia – to the point where I was wide awake till 4am. I read for a while and then made myself a healthy snack with some complex carbohydrates, and a cup of hot cocoa. The food, warm drink and reading finally helped me get back to sleep. Now I know that “night-time noshing” is frowned upon by many folks, who say that it contributes to weight gain etc, and I agree to an extent – when snacking becomes a mindless activity out of fatigue or boredom. However, if your last meal was at 7pm (e.g. my dinner!) and you’re wide awake at 3am with a growling stomach, then your body obviously needs food! It’s been a while since your last meal which your body has already digested, and so a light, healthy snack of complex carbohydrates and a small amount of healthy fat is perfectly justified. In fact, I don’t buy into the old saying that it’s ok to “go to bed hungry so you’ll wake up with an appetite;” I think that it actually inhibits you from falling asleep if you’re stomach is growling.

So my 3am snack the other night consisted of a small cup of hot cocoa made with soy milk, cocoa powder and some stevia, and two corn cakes (which are like rice cakes) with a teaspoon of almond butter and a few slices of banana. Did the trick! Other healthy options if you’re up that late and need a snack are:

  • 1/2 cup of whole-grain cereal with 1/2 cup of warmed milk (soy, almond)
  • 1 slice of whole grain toast with 1 – 2 teaspoons of peanut or almond butter
  • 1 cup of hot cocoa with 2 whole grain crackers and 1 – 2 teaspoons of almond or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of oatmeal with 1 – 2 teaspoons of peanut butter

The key is to keep it light and focus on whole-grain, complex carbohydrates, and not anything high in salt, sugar or fat, like chips, cookies, ice-cream or cake, since these wouldn’t be as satisfying or as nutritionally sound. Moreover, the high amount of sugar would cause a “sugar spike” and leave you feeling even more awake and then excessively tired again. So keep it healthy, light and nutritious – and that 3am insomnia snack might just help you get back to sleep again!


Posted on December 20, 2011, in General. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Farah I really do love your posts, and I want to make that transition in the new year. As I told you I have given up sugar ( which was very very hard) and now I want to transition to a more plant based diet. I am not quiet ready to give up fish and eggs, but…. keep blogging love it!!!

  2. Thanks Gabby! And thank you again for reading! I love writing these posts and knowing that people like reading them makes it even better – and keeps me on my toes 🙂
    I didn’t know that you had given up sugar – I haven’t completely but I don’t eat a lot of it anyway. And I haven’t given up eggs completely…I think any transition takes time and it’s easier if you don’t “force” yourself to give up certain things. If you just go with how you feel – and have things if you really crave them, it’s an easier process. Eventually you might just naturally begin to crave them less often (as happened to me with fish). Good luck – and please keep reading and commenting…I love THAT!! 🙂

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