Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by theworldofsleepstaff
Chocolate is a delicious and popular treat. And incredibly, some believe eating chocolate before bed can help you sleep better and improve your health.
While some research supports these claims, there are also some potential downsides to consider. This article will explore the pros and cons of eating chocolate before bed to help you decide if it’s right.
Disclaimer: You must always consult your doctor before including a new supplement or food into your daily routine as only your doctor can explain any pros or cons that are specific to you. Some supplements & foods may interfere with medications and/or cause allergic reactions.
Chocolate: What’s In iT?
Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao tree. These beans are roasted, ground into a paste, and then mixed with milk and sugar to create chocolate.
Unfortunately, chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine and stimulants such as theobromine. For this reason, eating chocolate before bed may not be the best idea if you’re trying to sleep.
The Benefits of Chocolate For Your Sleep & Hleath
There are some potential health benefits associated with eating chocolate before bed. Here are a few of them:
1. Chocolate May Help You Sleep Better
Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine, as well as theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant that can help wake you up and alert you. However, it’s important to note that the levels of caffeine and theobromine in chocolate are much lower than in coffee. For this reason, eating chocolate before bed is unlikely to keep you awake all night.
Surprisingly, many dietitians believe that the small amount of caffeine in chocolate can help you sleep better. Caffeine is a stimulant that helps to promote wakefulness. However, it can also have a calming effect in small doses. This means that chocolate’s caffeine may help relax you and make it easier to fall asleep.
2. Chocolate May Improve Your Mood
Chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine, which is thought to help improve your mood. Phenylethylamine is also found in other foods like cheese and fish. In addition, chocolate also contains small amounts of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that’s associated with happiness and well-being.
But what happens when you eat chocolate?
When you eat chocolate, phenylethylamine is released into your brain. This triggers the release of serotonin, which can improve your mood and make you happy. In addition, theobromine and caffeine work together to give you a boost of energy. This can also help to improve your mood and make you feel more alert and awake.
So, if you’re looking for a way to boost your mood, chocolate may be a good choice. Just be sure to eat it in moderation.
So, if you’re feeling down, eating a piece of chocolate may help to improve your mood. Just be sure not to overdo it, as too much chocolate can lead to weight gain.
3. Chocolate May Help To Prevent Cancer
The antioxidants found in chocolate can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Not only that, but the flavonoids in chocolate can also help to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
Health experts believe that more research is needed in this area to confirm the potential cancer-preventing benefits of chocolate. However, eating chocolate may be a good option if you’re looking for ways to reduce your cancer risk.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all chocolate is created equal. For the healthiest option, choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. Avoid chocolate that is high in sugar and additives.
4. Chocolate May Boost Your Cognitive Function
Improving cognitive function is important at any age, but it’s especially crucial as we age. This is because our cognitive function naturally declines with age – but maybe chocolates can help!
The flavonoids found in chocolate can help to improve blood flow to the brain, which can, in turn, boost cognitive function. For example, in one study, participants who ate chocolate performed better on memory and attention tests than those who didn’t eat chocolate.
Flavonoids are also found in other foods like green tea, blueberries, and red wine. So, if you’re looking for ways to boost your cognitive function, you may also want to try incorporating these other foods into your diet.
5. Chocolate May Improve Your Heart Health
Chocolate flavonoids can also help improve heart health by reducing inflammation and blood flow. In one study, participants who ate dark chocolate every day for two weeks had lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
In addition, chocolate flavonoids can help reduce blood pressure by relaxing the arteries and improving blood flow. So, eating chocolate may be a good option if you’re looking for ways to improve your heart health.
6. Chocolate May Help You Lose Weight
Even though chocolate is high in calories, it may help you lose weight. This is because the body burns more calories digesting chocolate than other food types. Chocolate flavonoids can also help reduce appetite and increase satiety.
If you plan to incorporate chocolate into your diet to lose weight, choose dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. Also, eat in moderation, as overeating chocolate can lead to weight gain.
7. Chocolate May Improve Your Skin Health
Chocolate antioxidants can help protect the skin from damage and may even improve skin health. For example, in one study, participants who applied a dark chocolate extract to their skin had significantly less skin roughness and irritation than those who didn’t apply the extract.
Chocolate can also help to improve blood flow to the skin, which can, in turn, improve skin health. In one study, participants who ate dark chocolate every day for three months had better blood flow to their skin than those who didn’t eat chocolate.
The Potential Downsides Of Eating Chocolate bEFoRE bED
While there are many potential benefits of eating chocolate, there are also some potential downsides. These include:
1. Chocolate Is High In Calories
One of the main downsides of chocolate is its high calories. One ounce (28 grams) of dark chocolate contains about 158 calories. This means it’s easy to overeat chocolate and consume more calories than you need.
Eating chocolate in moderation is essential if you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
2. Chocolate Can Contain Unhealthy Additives
Another downside of chocolate is that it can contain unhealthy additives like sugar and artificial flavours. These additives can offset the health benefits of chocolate and lead to weight gain and other health problems.
Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa to avoid these unhealthy additives. You can also make your chocolate home using healthy ingredients like cocoa powder, honey, and coconut oil.
3. Chocolate Can Trigger Migraines
For some people, chocolate can trigger migraines. This is because chocolate contains compounds like caffeine and tyramine, which can constrict blood vessels and lead to headaches. A migraine, is of course, not going to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Moreover, the sugar in chocolate can cause blood sugar spikes, which can also trigger migraines. Therefore, eating chocolate in moderation or avoiding it altogether is essential if you are susceptible to migraines.
Eating chocolate in moderation or avoiding it altogether is essential if you are prone to migraines. You can also talk to your doctor about other foods that may trigger migraines.
4. Chocolate Can Contain Harmful Toxins
Chocolate can also contain harmful toxins like cadmium and lead. These toxins can accumulate in the body and lead to health problems like kidney damage and cancer.
These toxins are most likely found in chocolate made in developing countries that do not have strict regulations on its production. To avoid these toxins, be sure to choose chocolate that is made in developed countries and has a high cocoa content.
To minimise these toxins, be sure to choose dark chocolate that is certified organic. You can also check the labels to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t contain harmful additives.
5. Chocolate Can Cause Gastrointestinal Issues
For some people, chocolate can cause gastrointestinal issues like bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation. This is because chocolate can contain compounds like caffeine and theobromine, irritating the digestive tract. All of which doesn’t set you up for a good night if eating chocolate before bed.
Chocolate has also been shown to increase gut permeability, leading to inflammation. Therefore, eating chocolate in moderation or avoiding it altogether is essential if you have gastrointestinal issues. You can also talk to your doctor about other foods that may trigger your symptoms.
6. Chocolate Can Be Addictive
Like other foods that contain sugar and fat, chocolate can be addictive. This is because these substances can trigger dopamine release in the brain, leading to cravings and overeating.
Chocolate addiction can lead to weight gain and other health problems like anxiety and depression.
Moderation is vital when it comes to eating chocolate. Be sure only to eat small amounts of chocolate, and avoid bingeing on sugary or fatty foods. You can also talk to your doctor about other foods that may trigger your symptoms.
EATING chOCOLATE bEFORE bED: FAQs
How Long Before Bed Can I Eat Chocolate?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on your metabolism and how sensitive you are to the effects of caffeine.
However, as a general rule, it is best to avoid eating chocolate too close to bedtime as it can interfere with sleep. If you crave chocolate before bed, try a dark variety containing less sugar and caffeine.
Does Milk Chocolate Help You Sleep?
While there is no scientific evidence to suggest that milk chocolate helps you sleep, it is generally lower in sugar and caffeine than other types of chocolate. Therefore, milk chocolate may be a better option than other varieties if you are looking for a bedtime snack that will not interfere with your sleep.
Does Cocoa Affect Sleep?
Cocoa contains caffeine, which can act as a stimulant and cause insomnia. However, cocoa also contains theobromine, which has been shown to have mild sedative effects.
Therefore, the overall effect of cocoa on sleep is likely to be variable and depends on the individual’s caffeine sensitivity.
Does Hot Chocolate Make You Sleepy Or Awake?
Hot chocolate generally contains caffeine, which can act as a stimulant and make it difficult to sleep. However, some hot chocolate recipes do not contain caffeine, so it is possible to find a variety that will not interfere with sleep. In addition, the warmth of the drink may help to relax the body and prepare it for sleep.
Is It Healthy To Eat 100% Chocolate?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the individual’s dietary needs and preferences. However, dark chocolate generally contains less sugar and fat than other types of chocolate, making it a healthier option.
In addition, dark chocolate contains antioxidants which can provide health benefits. Therefore, if you are looking for a healthy snack option, dark chocolate may be a good choice.
Is It Wrong To Eat Chocolate Every Day?
Eating chocolate every day is not inherently wrong, but you must be mindful of the type and amount of chocolate you consume. Chocolate is high in sugar and calories, so it should be enjoyed in moderation.
Furthermore, chocolate contains caffeine and other stimulants, which can have adverse effects if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, it is best to enjoy chocolate in moderation and to choose dark or milk varieties over the white chocolate, which is higher in sugar.
eATING cHOCOLATE bEFORE bED: oUR Final Thoughts
Eating chocolate has been linked to many potential health benefits, including improved heart, brain function, and skin health. However, chocolate is also high in calories and can contain unhealthy additives.
Therefore, it’s important to eat chocolate in moderation. You can also choose dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa to get the most health benefits.
What do you think? Do you eat chocolate regularly? Have you noticed any health or sleep benefits? Let us know!