When You Eat Cereal Before Bed, This Is What Happens

Breakfast cereal as we know it today is a relatively new invention. Back in colonial days, average people typically ate porridge or leftovers from the night before for breakfast. Then, in the 1800s, as the nation grew bigger, so did our breakfasts. "There's a trend that started with the European aristocracy, to have this giant breakfast buffet with cold-smoked tongue, ham, sausage and egg dishes, and things like that," culinary historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson tells The History Channel. Having provided fuel for farmers and laborers for a long day of hard work, these meat-centric morning meals were especially popular in rural areas in the Midwest.

By the end of the 19th century, however, people began to recognize that eating heavy amounts of meat and eggs was probably not the greatest idea for their health (via The History Channel). According to Kellogg's, the earlier version of the corn flakes we know today was invented in 1894 by the company's founder, W.K. Kellogg, and with this new food, a staple to the American diet was added.

Sugary cereals can lead to restless sleep

While cereal is associated with breakfast, Cooking Light notes that it is sometimes a go-to snack for people when they can't sleep and that eating cereal at night is not necessarily a bad thing. The key is to avoid sugary cereals that are low in fiber because the sugar will cause your blood sugar and insulin to soar and lead to restless sleep. In addition, the sugar combined with the lack of fiber will make you even hungrier the next morning.

According to SFGate, the cereals you eat before bed should be made from whole grains, have less than 250 calories per cup, and contain 3 grams of fiber or more. In fact, eating cereal made with whole grains and fiber at night can even potentially help with weight management. Eating a bowl of healthy cereal before bed could be especially beneficial if you've just worked out. Sports nutritionist Dr. John Berardi tells SFGate that this is because your body needs to replenish carbohydrates. However, if your aim is to lose weight and you've already hit your calorie quota for the day, then even eating a healthy cereal before bed is going to mitigate the results you are trying to achieve by putting you over your daily calorie limit.

Malina Linkas Malkani, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is on board with this idea of eating a high-fiber cereal right before bed if she's hungry. "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 tells U.S. News & World Report.