Late-night snacking has gotten a bad reputation from dieters and weight-loss gurus. While eating late at night may contribute to unwanted weight gain, not all late-night snacks are created equal.

Sometimes, issues like irregular circadian rhythms, chronic stress, or sleep deprivation can make one peckish at night. However, there are other reasons you may feel hungry that could actually mean a late-night snack is the right choice.

Sufferers from AFS (Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome), or low blood sugar may need something to eat in the evening to stay healthy.

Regardless of why you’re feeling hungry late at night, choosing the right bedtime snack can make all the difference. Healthy food will not only keep you from packing on pounds, but it can even contribute to a better night’s sleep.

These 5 healthy late-night snacks can fill you up without filling you with guilt.

1. Turkey and Eggs

There’s a reason people like to nap after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s more than a common joke — it’s science!

Turkey contains an essential amino acid called tryptophan. Because your body cannot produce tryptophan, it must be obtained through your diet.

Tryptophan helps with melatonin production. This means that if you snack on turkey, you’re likely to feel a surge of sleepiness shortly afterward.

While somewhat higher in fat, eggs are another protein-rich source of tryptophan. They are another good choice to fill your stomach and enhance melatonin production before bed.

2. Oatmeal

Many centenarians consume oatmeal on a daily basis. Not only can it reduce the risk of cancer and other health problems, but its complex carbohydrate content triggers the release of serotonin.

3. Fruit and Veggies

This should go without saying, but fruits and vegetables are always a highly nutritious choice for late-night snacks. If you struggle with sleep issues, here are some common fruits and veggies that contain melatonin:

  • Pineapple
  • Cherries
  • Grapes

Other healthful choices include olives, carrots, watermelon, or celery dipped in almond butter. One additional benefit of eating fruits and vegetables late at night is their fiber content.

Fiber helps with digestion as well as filling you up. Most fruits have a high water content, and since dehydration commonly disguises itself as hunger, filling up on a watery fruit like watermelon kills two birds with one stone.

4. Nuts

A little goes a long way when you choose nuts for a bedtime snack. Packed with protein and “good fats,” nuts are both filling and nutritious.

It only takes a small handful to get your fill. Many nuts like walnuts and pistachios contain melatonin, and almonds and various nut butters are also healthy options.

5. Dark Chocolate

You read that right, and congratulations, your cravings can be satisfied! Theobromine, a compound naturally found in chocolate, induces sleep.

If you suffer from insomnia or another sleep disorder, treat yourself to a little dark chocolate at night.

One or two squares of dark chocolate are better than a handful as it is often contains plenty of sugar. Finding natural or unsweetened dark chocolate is your healthiest option to satisfy that sweet tooth at night.

Late-Night Snacks and Sleep Issues

Choosing healthy late-night snacks can eliminate guilt and over-indulging. Sleep issues are tough enough to deal with without adding remorse to the equation.

If you struggle with serious or ongoing sleep issues like insomnia, it may be time to seek professional help.

Our team of experts is here to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need to get back into a healthy sleep pattern. Contact us today to learn how you can start getting a better night’s sleep, tonight!