There's not much worse than a night of tossing and turning in the sack. After all, poor sleep is intricately tied to weight gain, skewed hormone levels, next-day munchies, and blood sugar and insulin issues, says Bridget Murphy, from NYU Langone Medical Center. To score some quality shuteye, you've got to be careful about what you sip before you crash.
While you probably know that having caffeine and sugar too close to bedtime can mess with your sleep, other nutrients can actually help you build muscle, improve your blood sugar stability, and burn fat.
Here, five beverages you should give a taste at night if you're looking to lose weight.
A glass of milk (warm or not) can help you sleep more soundly, thanks to a healthy dose of tryptophan and calcium, says Murphy. And more sleep means less next-day cravings getting in the way of your pounds-dropping goals. For women hitting the gym (i.e. you!), milk’s casein protein is slow to digest, which could help you build muscle all night long, per Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise research. The result: a faster metabolism and easier weight loss, says Murphy.
2. Grape Juice
We don’t recommend drinking fruit juice very often around here, but a small glass of 100 percent grape juice before bed may help you sleep and burn fat as you dream, says Murphy. Research published in Cell Reports suggests that insulin secretion at night (caused by consumption of simple carbs, like juice) regulates the body’s circadian rhythms. And a 2015 International Journal of Obesity study found that resveratrol, an antioxidant contained in grapes, converts calorie-storing white fat into calorie-burning brown fat. It's a one-two punch.
In case you’ve heard, yes, wine is also rich in resveratrol. Unfortunately, alcohol isn’t the best pre-bed drink. In one University of Melbourne study, sleepers who drank booze before bed exhibited nighttime brain wave patterns similar to people who received small electric shocks all night long. Sounds pleasant, right?
3. Chamomile Tea
A hot mug of this sleep-inducing tea increases your body’s levels of glycine, a neurotransmitter that relaxes your nerves and acts as a mild sedative. Another cool trait of chamomile: It spikes your core body temperature so that your system responds by drastically cooling itself, lulling you to sleep. What’s more, chamomile has been linked to improved glucose control and weight loss, says Murphy. Just make sure that any tea you drink before bed is caffeine-free and stay far, far away from "detox" teas.
Made from fermented milk, this probiotic-rich beverage works on your gut microbiome to increase levels of healthy bacteria, promote proper digestion, and help you to absorb vitamins and minerals more effectively, says Murphy. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has also tied the yogurt-like beverage to improved sleep and better exercise performance. Boom.
5. Soy Protein Shake
Soy, in milk or protein powder form, is brimming with the amino acid tryptophan. And why is that important? According to Birmingham University research, it can improve sleep quality by acting as a precursor to drowse-inducing melatonin, says Murphy. She notes that apart from helping you drift off, tryptophan also decreases cortisol levels to help fight belly fat.