Before you prepare yourself to hit the hay, be sure you are receiving adequate nutrition. Proper nutrition is crucial before bed because overnight your body needs a supply of legitimate sources of protein and fats to build muscle, prevent muscle breakdown and promote satiety. Unfortunately, many people think eating and then going to bed will lead to weight gain. However, with the proper balance of nutrients, eating before bed can promote lean mass and actually prevent fat gain.
The problem with late night eating lies in the quality of foods you choose to consume before bed. Poor quality foods such as cookies, brownies or ice cream will eventually lead to sugar crashes and an expanding waist line. They also don’t serve any purpose or value for your body. Ditch that sleeve of Oreos or that pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives to save yourself the excess calories and fat like casein protein shakes, cottage cheese, peanut butter, even Greek yogurt.
When it comes to obtaining a healthy, fit physique, bedtime nutrition plays an important role in conserving lean mass. To slow down digestion and promote a long, slow release of protein throughout the night, your pre-slumber meal should contain a blend of fat and protein. On the other hand, your nighttime snack should be low in carbohydrates to allow proper sleep. Too many simple sugars will spike blood sugar and lead to poor sleep quality.
The importance of slow digesting proteins and fats at nighttime is essential. Having proteins that slowly digest over time like casein will help save precious muscle mass that you’ve worked to build in the gym. Casein protein contains 80 percent milk protein; meanwhile whey protein a faster absorbing protein contains 20 percent. Since whey protein is faster absorbing, it wouldn’t be a good choice before bed. While you’re asleep, the proteins gel in your stomach giving your body a free flow of amino acids throughout the night to help recover your damaged muscles. While casein protein is not as common and hence harder to come by, there are some great sources to include in your nighttime routine.
Build Muscle Overnight #1: Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein to munch on before snoozing. It offers an optimum blend of amino acids and proteins to help you build muscle and recover throughout the night. On average, cottage cheese will deliver about 11-12 grams of protein per cup while still not breaking the budget. Feeling as though it may not fill you up or are you looking to add some flavor to your cottage cheese? If you’re looking to prevent hunger pangs and satisfy your taste buds add natural peanut butter, this will help aid in digestion and add more nutrients including seven grams of protein, monounsaturated fat, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Build Muscle Overnight #2: Casein Protein Shakes
Casein protein shakes are an optimal decision before you hit the hay. If you seem a little bit too tired and may not be in the mood to eat cottage cheese, casein protein shakes are an easy choice while still providing the optimum nutrients. These shakes come in powder form. All you need is a shaker and water or milk. A scoop of casein protein delivers around 24 grams of protein; add milk and you’re looking at a total of 32 grams of protein to help last throughout the night. An ideal choice before bed, this protein will slowly digest in your gut. With a rate of digestion at 6-8 hours, this protein has a lot of benefits and will help preserve and build muscle tissue.
Build Muscle Overnight #3: Greek Yogurt
If you’re not a fan of cottage cheese or casein protein shakes, Greek yogurt is always an exceptional choice to eat up before going to sleep. Greek yogurt happens to be very high in protein, which helps you feel fuller longer. The common 4-6 ounce serving of this super yogurt dishes out around 12-16 grams of protein and a low dose of carbohydrates, typically only 6-8 grams. However, some of these brands can have misleading information regarding fat and sugar. If you decide to purchase, be smart and avoid the brands high in sugar. Flavored varieties often have added sugar to sweeten the taste. Instead, add a handful of almonds to your yogurt for more fat and protein while steering clear of excess sugar.
Build Muscle Overnight #4: Natural Peanut Butter
Instead of peanut butters high in fat, sugar and other harmful ingredients, purchase a nutrient dense and much healthier option, natural peanut butter. Depending on the brand, 1-2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter can provide you with 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of monosaturated fat. Healthy fats before bed help aid with slower digestion of the breakdown of proteins, keeping your body in an anabolic state which means more muscle growth.
Understanding the importance of bedtime nutrition is the cornerstone to any successful diet. Instead of snacking on Chips Ahoy cookies before bed, opt for healthy foods that serve a purpose and cater your body with vitamins, minerals and proteins instead of a plethora of sugars and calories.