When You Eat Fiber Before Bed, This Is What Happens

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fiber is essential for our health and well-being. It fills you up, preventing you from over-indulging in unhealthy foods. Thus, it's no surprise that fiber helps maintain your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Likewise, it can promote digestive health and offer protection against heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (per The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine). Unfortunately, even if you think you get enough fiber, you probably don't. Although most Americans believe they eat enough fiber, only 5% actually do.

Chances are, amping up your fiber intake is a good idea, and this is especially true if you have trouble sleeping. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that after getting enough fiber during the day, people fell asleep faster and enjoyed deeper and better quality sleep. What happens when you consume your daily fiber recommendation before bed?

What if you eat fiber right before bed?

Once you know that getting enough fiber can promote better quality sleep, it may be tempting to have a late-night snack full of it in order to get to sleep faster, but is this effective? The answer to this question is a bit more nuanced. According to theĀ Mayo Clinic, a late-night snack generally won't help you sleep better.

If you do have a late-night snack, it should be light. Nutritionist Malina Linkas Malkani, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, toldĀ U.S. News and World Report that if she feels hungry before bed, she likes to have a small bowl of high-fiber cereal. "Eating a light snack that offers a satiating balance of fiber, protein and fat helps me sleep better and avoid excess late-night snacking on foods that don't promote my health," she says.

Other light snacks that offer fiber include almonds, kiwis, walnuts, and oatmeal. Some research suggests that eating these foods before bed could promote sleep quality (per Healthline). Keep in mind that you should spread out your fiber intake throughout the day instead of trying to cram it all in before bed. Registered dietitian Jessica Crandall tells Everyday Health that eating too much fiber in one sitting can lead to bloating and cramps, which certainly wouldn't bode well for your sleep.