Last week, I asked members in my Facebook group Journey To Sleep if they snack, when do they snack and is it a salty or sweet snack. 

At the top of this list was eating salty snacks in the evening.  It really was no surprise because it is so common to snack after dinner and up until bedtime. 

If you think about it, it is likely that you are not hungry, perhaps it is a habit of just wanting something to crunch on.  Or it could be that you did not have enough protein at dinner.  If your dinner is mostly carbs, then it could cause you to be hungry soon after. 

Now, having a snack is not necessarily a bad thing.  If you have a weight issue, then it is something you could address when you want to lose weight. Snacking is simply putting more calories into the body and snacking is often mindless eating. “Hey I just ate the whole bag without realizing it!”  Does that resonate with anyone?

If you have trouble sleeping, then think about when and what you are snacking in the evening.  Because food can affect your sleep either by helping sleep or hindering it.

These are some things to consider:
–       Eating too close to bedtime – the body is still digesting food and if you are still digesting, then the body is not ready for sleep. Melatonin, the hormone that helps get you to sleep, isn’t being produced if you are digesting food.
–       Best to not eat 3 hours before bed.
–       It can trigger heartburn or acid reflux because you are lying down on a full stomach
–       What are the salty snacks are you eating by the way?  Potato chips, tortilla chips, crackers, pretzels, pizza, bread?  These foods break down into glucose (meaning sugar) in the body.  This can affect your blood sugar levels.  And interesting enough, both high and low blood sugar can wake you up.

If you just have to have a snack then let’s look at choices that are more likely to promote sleep.  Combining a complex carbohydrate with either protein or fat is the best if you have to have a snack.  Some great examples of this would be oatmeal with milk, plain yogurt and berries, peanut butter with apple or pear, whole grain crackers with slice of chicken or smoked salmon, or cheese and grapes or olives and nuts.  And instead of eating, perhaps have something to drink like a glass of water or a cup of chamomile tea for example.  It just might divert your attention away from food.

Its ok to have a small snack in the evening.  Just be wise about your snack choices.  And remember it is a snack, not a meal.

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