Ever wonder what you should be eating before bed?
Or if you should be eating at all before bed?!
Well, you’re not alone… not only am I right there with ya, but hundreds of thousands…. millions of other people are as well…
Can I eat before bed?
Common advice given to someone trying to lose weight is don’t eat 4 hours before going to sleep. That would be great advice…if it wasn’t completely wrong. We hear, see, and read all sorts of conflicting information that can leave you a little puzzled and make it difficult to answer some questions like:
- What is the best diet for fat loss?
- What is the best nutrition plan for muscle growth?
- What supplements should I take?
- Can I eat before bed?
- How long before bed can I eat?
… just to name a few.
I am not going to try to answer every single question here today.
In this blog we will talk about what to eat before bed… spoiler alert, eating before bed is not bad. Eating the wrong things before bed… things that put you over your calories/macros for the day… is what leads to unfavorable results that like unwanted weight gain.
See, though your body is in bed and sleeping… it is going through a ton of processes to help you recover and prepare for the next day.
Eating before bed, and eating protein specifically before bed, can help with these processes and ultimately… help with your results!
What foods should I eat before bed?
What I am going to do is explain the benefits of having protein before bed. Ingesting protein before bed is a great idea no matter if your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, or build muscle. I know … I know … you have grown up your whole life hearing …
“Don’t eat too close to bed because you will get fat.” But the truth is…
During sleep, your body is in the repair and recovery process. It is working hard and burning A LOT of calories to repair itself before the next day. By having a high-quality protein source before bed, you can set yourself up for better results.
4 Benefits of Protein Before Bed
1) Better muscle, brain, and nervous system recovery while you are sleep.
2) Burn more fat while you sleep.
3) Promote lean muscle growth.4) Eliminate nighttime hunger to improve sleep quality.
It does not matter if your goal is to burn fat or gain muscle, you need to have protein before you go to sleep. The amount of protein will change based on your goals, but the benefits of protein before bed are the same. It’s really the amino acids in the protein that are what you want because that is what keeps you in the anabolic state.
See, your body is either catabolic (breaking down muscle tissue for energy and storing fat – not what you want) … or anabolic (preserving muscle tissue and burning primarily fat and carbs as its energy source – WHAT YOU WANT). This is true even while you sleep. So by giving your body protein before bed, you are keeping your body in the anabolic state a few hours into the night.
Whether you add a low calorie, high protein snack before bed or even if you have to restructure your nutrition plan, the benefits of having 20 to 40 grams of protein before bed is well worth it!
Now, I understand that having chicken, spending the time to cook eggs, or eating another protein source before bed may not sound very appetizing. That’s ok. It is why most people rely on a protein shake before bed. Supplementing with protein powder before bed is quick, easy, and can satisfy your sweet tooth cravings!
But, you might be wondering …
What kind of protein shake should I drink before bed?
That is a great question! Unfortunately, due to crafty marketing by many supplement companies, you have to sift through layers of BS to find out the truth. To save you a headache, I will just tell you … the best protein powder to use before bed is whey protein.
More specifically, a sustained assimilating protein shake. Meaning that it is a blend of proteins, primarily whey, to supply your body without interruptions over a 3 to 4 hour time period.
You might be wondering, “aren’t you suppose to use a casein protein powder before bed?” You can, but the benefits of Casein Protein are not nearly as strong as the benefits of Whey Protein. The whole “8-hour digesting protein” and staying anabolic all night from one casein protein shake before bed is crafty marketing that the majority of the supplement industry feeds you.
The truth of the matter is a sustained assimilating protein powder that is made up of primarily whey protein is the best option for a protein before bed. You want to use whey protein because of the high essential amino acid content contained within the protein.
This is important because your body can not make the essential amino acids so you have to get them through food. Therefore, since whey has a higher amount of Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) … it is a superior protein source compared to casein protein.
By using a higher quality protein source that gives your body more of the essential amino acids it needs, you are setting yourself up for better recovery, promoting lean muscle growth, and helping you burn fat while you sleep!
Final Thoughts On Eating Before Bed
So in closing, if you want to recover better… If you want to build more muscle… If you want to burn more fat… If you want better results… adjusting your calories and macros for the day to allow you to have protein before bed is a great idea!
Because once again, it’s not that eating after dinner is bad, it’s overeating in calories and eating the wrong macronutrients before bed that you should be concerned about.
If you’re already eating or drinking protein before bed, you can improve your results by improving the quality of your protein source or protein powder. The more easily your body can break down and use that protein, the better your results will be over time. Because remember, your body is doing a lot of work while you sleep so giving it better fuel and nutrients to complete that work, you’re setting yourself up for success.
If you have any questions about how much protein you should ingest before bed based on your goals, or any other nutrition, supplement, or training questions … PLEASE ASK!!!
Here at 1st Phorm we have a whole team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist who will help you for FREE!
Just give us a call from 6am to 9pm Monday thru Friday at 1 800 409 9732, or shoot us an email at [email protected] at anytime. We will get back to you right away in a timely and make sure you are set up for success!
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.