It’s typically eaten at breakfast but eating yoghurt at night can actually help you sleep and give you a number of health benefits as well. We explain how, next.
Eating yoghurt at night: The surprising sleep aid
Although eaten for centuries, it’s only recently that we’ve discovered that eating yoghurt before bed may actually benefit sleep.
That’s because yoghurt – particularly Greek yoghurt – is a great source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that we don’t produce naturally, and which we must obtain through diet. Supplementing with this amino acid appears to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep as tryptophan helps your body produce an important sleep hormone called melatonin.
Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and is so important to our sleep health that often individuals who are struggling to sleep – or have been diagnosed with insomnia – are prescribed melatonin. Therefore eating yoghurt at night could be a great way to top up your natural melatonin levels at the right time and make you sleepy.
It doesn’t end there either. Yoghurt is a rich source of calcium, which combines with tryptophan to create more melatonin. So if you eat a yoghurt at night you really are giving your body a dose of sleepiness.
Eating yoghurt at night could help sleep quality and onset due to the presence of tryptophan – which helps produce the sleep hormone melatonin – as well as calcium. All of which have been shown to have a positive effect on sleep.
Eating yoghurt at night: What are the HEALTH benefits?
If you stick to a healthy choice of yoghurt – like greek yoghurt and probiotic yoghurts – then eating yoghurt in the evening can be a good choice if you’re hungry at night. However did you know that these healthy yoghurts also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties?
The anti-inflammatory nature of yoghurt has been studied before, and is important to note as many major diseases like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are often linked to chronic inflammation. Therefore incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – like yoghurt or spinach – is a no-brainer.
Indeed one study saw inflammation markers reduce in IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) patients when they consumed probiotic yoghurts
Yoghurt is also a great source of antioxidants. That’s important as antioxidants appear to have a direct effect on sleep quality, as they support the immune system and help promote restfulness at night.
Antioxidant foods also help protect your body and can even reverse damage that has been done by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress comes about when there’s an imbalance between free radical molecules (which can cause harm) and antioxidants – that imbalance then causes illness and tissue damage. The result can be the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and many others. Therefore eating antioxidant foods – like yoghurt or grapes – should be a priority.
The science has been backed up too. Yoghurt appears to reduce the risk of cognitive decline associated with diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, could reduce the risk of colon cancer, and could protect against cardiovascular disease.
Greek yoghurt, as well as low-sugar yoghurts, are also a healthy and filling snack that could help you lose weight if consumed instead of higher calorie and unhealthier foods.
Yoghurt has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Because of that, several studies have shown yoghurt to have a positive effect on health, potentially protect against disease, and boost the immune system.
Eating yoghurt at night: Incorporating it into your diet
Yoghurt can be found in shops and supermarkets around the world. This superfood is cheap and can be easily incorporated with other foods.
There are many different ways to incorporate yoghurt into your diet. The easiest is to combine yoghurt with something like cinnamon. If you put some chia seeds and flax seeds in as well, you will have an incredibly healthy and nutritious morning or evening snack.
Eating yoghurt before bed: What about side effects?
If you don’t have a lactose allergy then moderate consumption of yoghurt shouldn’t cause any side effects. However eating yoghurt in excess could lead to side effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.
As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor if undertaking a diet change, or if you have concerns about how a specific food may interact with any preexisting conditions or medicines.