Waking up in the middle of the night because your stomach won’t stop growling and you’re hungry gets old quick. If you want a snack before bed that won’t interfere with your weight-loss goals and will keep you full, you should reach for something with carbs or protein.
Regardless of your nutritional preferences — eating in a calorie deficit, following a low-carb diet, or simply trying to eat enough vegetables every day — if you wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry, “You probably need to eat a little more,” Jason Machowsky, RD, CSSD, CSCS, a board-certified sports dietitian and exercise physiologist at the Hospital For Special Surgery’s Tisch Sports Performance Center told POPSUGAR.
“People waking up hungry at night (unless they have a condition like binge eating disorder) are underfueled from the day,” Jason explained. Training at an intense level and working out frequently can also contribute to waking up hungry because your body needs more fuel, Jason said. “In these cases, carbs help replenish glycogen stores (our gas tank) and protein helps maintain muscle protein synthesis (the natural process of your body repairing and building muscle) rates,” he explained.
To prevent waking up from hunger, Jason recommends having an evening snack that consists of either a carbohydrate, a protein, or a combination of both. If you’d like, you can have a little fat as well, he said. Some snacks Jason recommends are:
- fruit with a nut or seed butter
- fruit with a hard-boiled egg or a piece of cheese
- yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit
- half of a sandwich
- a bowl of whole-grain cereal or oatmeal (using milk will add calories and protein)
If you’re over waking up in the middle of the night, give one of these simple snacks a shot! If you are still experiencing sleep issues, we recommend consulting a sleep expert.