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!