Why You Should Avoid Eating Ice Cream Before Bed

If you’re like me, nothing feels better than eating a strawberry-flavored ice cream while watching your favorite TV series before bed. 

But have you noticed that every time you take a scoop of ice cream before sleeping, you feel worse the day after? I certainly did! That’s why in this article, I’ll tell you why you should avoid eating ice cream before bed.

Should You Eat Ice Cream Before Bed?

Why You Should Avoid Eating Ice Cream Before Bed

No, eating ice cream before bed leads to poor sleep quality. And what’s even worse is that ice cream is addictive, so it makes you feel like you need to up your sugar intake. This will get you stuck in a vicious cycle of restlessness from not satiating your sweet tooth and not being able to sleep.

Why does this happen? Simple! Ice cream is high in sugar. When you eat this hefty sugar amount, your body turns it into energy. 

Then, this energy raises your heart rate and signals to your brain that it’s time to get up and do activities, which is quite the opposite of what you want. On top of that, if the ice cream’s flavor is chocolate, your body gets caffeinated, making you feel agitated.

Eventually, these overstimulating signals will “confuse” your sleep-regulating circadian rhythm. That’ll make you constantly wake up throughout the night. 

Plus, every time you take an extra ice cream scoop, you’ll get a feel-good dopamine hit that makes you crave sugar even more. This makes fighting your sugar cravings challenging. 

Effects of Ice Cream on Health

The effects sugar cravings can have on your body don’t stop at poor sleep. That’s why I’ll delve into more details below.

Induces Nightmares

Ice cream and high-sugar foods can taste like heaven, but they won’t give you dreams as sweet as them.

Remember when I said that ice cream overstimulates your brain? According to a research study, this excessive activity triggers your REM sleep, the phase responsible for dreaming, to give you the most disturbing dreams.

So in addition to waking up craving sugar, you might wake up disturbed by an ice cream-induced nightmare. 

Makes You Gain Weight

Why You Should Avoid Eating Ice Cream Before Bed
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If you’re like me, you always grab an extra scoop of ice cream, convincing yourself that it’s the last bit, only to realize that you’ve finished half the whole pint. 

But does this seemingly innocent ice cream scoop before bed make people gain weight? First, let’s check the facts. According to the USDA, one cup of chocolate ice cream has around 286 calories. 

At a glance, 286 calories don’t seem like much. But here’s the catch: the calories add up day by day, which eventually leads to gaining weight.

Besides the high-calorie count, ice cream is addictive, so we’re more likely to eat ice cream in excess. Does this mean that we should stop eating ice cream altogether? Of course not! Lucky for us, there are plenty of low-calorie ice cream options nowadays. 

Some brands have managed to make chocolate ice cream that only contains around 300 calories for the entire pint! You can also make low-calorie homemade ice cream that tastes as delicious as ready-made ones.

Gives You Stomach Aches

Since Ice cream is a dairy product, it often leads to gastrointestinal issues like bloating, uneasiness, or pain after eating. This is especially common among people who are lactose intolerant. But what causes lactose intolerance?

Normally, our bodies produce an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down the lactose found in dairy products.

When your body can’t make enough lactase enzymes, your GIT won’t be able to easily digest the dairy, making you intolerant to it. This gives you stomach aches, which are sometimes accompanied by gas and diarrhea.

However, another culprit for stomach aches from eating ice cream could be heartburn, especially if you have GERD

This heartburn happens because our bodies slowly digest the saturated fats in ice cream. And as a result, the esophageal sphincter allows food to go back up, leading to acid reflux.

Why Do We Get Sugar Cravings at Night?

Why You Should Avoid Eating Ice Cream Before Bed
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Now that you know the harmful effects of ice cream and sugar on your body, why do you still crave them so much before sleep?! The reasons are plenty.

For starters, you’re more likely to eat high-sugar foods like ice cream when you have a rough day. This is because your body attempts to fix the exhaustion with a quick energy boost. 

Plus, if you suffer from insomnia, your ghrelin hormone levels will increase at night, which increases your appetite. On the other hand, your leptin hormone levels, which reduce hunger, will decrease. These unstable hormones can contribute to your sweet tooth.

Another possible cause of sweet cravings at night is your body’s lack of nutrients. For instance, a deficiency in energy-producing magnesium often makes you sleep-deprived. This makes you feel like you need ice cream or sugar before bed.

When’s the Best Time to Eat Ice Cream? 

Since eating ice cream before sleeping doesn’t sound like a good idea, I recommend enjoying it at a better time, like in the morning.

Your body rapidly breaks the sugar in ice cream into glucose after eating, giving you a spike of energy that you might need in the morning. But beware that the spike won’t last for long. This is one of the most undesirable effects of eating sugar in the morning. Shortly after you eat it, your energy levels will take a dip, but luckily, there’s an easy fix to this.

To keep your energy levels high for a longer time, you can pair the ice cream with other foods that delay the absorption of sugar into your blood, like fiber-rich foods, for instance.

You can also eat ice cream as a dessert after lunch, as long as you don’t plan to sleep for another three hours.

Foods to Curb Sweet Tooth at Night

Have you decided to avoid eating ice cream altogether before bed but still want to tame your sugar cravings? I got your back with two healthy alternatives as yummy as ice cream!

Nice Cream

Nice cream, which is frozen banana, is a healthier yet tasty alternative to ice cream. You won’t notice the difference between them because of their similar soft texture. What’s better, nice cream is high in magnesium and potassium, which are essential nutrients for deep sleep. 

Making nice cream is easy. Freeze a couple of bananas for eight hours, then purée them in an electric blender, and that’s it!

Lastly, if you have severe insomnia, add toppings high in calcium, like almonds, to the banana cream. This is because calcium acts as a muscle relaxant that encourages sleep.

Frozen Yogurt

If you’re not a big fan of bananas, try frozen yogurt. Just like ice cream, yogurt is full of calcium. Except the latter doesn’t have the unnecessary refined sugar that the former has. 

And for a low-calorie option, opt for Greek yogurt because it has half the carbs and sugar in regular yogurt. You can also add toppings like almonds or cherries to add flavor.

Final Thoughts

Why You Should Avoid Eating Ice Cream Before Bed
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Eating ice cream before bed is a recipe for terrible sleep. This is because its high sugar content overstimulates your brain, telling it that it’s time to move and get to work. Of course, that’s the last thing you want when it’s bedtime! 

Plus, ice cream can be addicting because of the dopamine boost it gives you, which worsens your sweet tooth. Consequently, this will make it even more difficult to sleep.

As an alternative solution, I recommend trying banana cream or frozen yogurt. They taste as sweet, minus the sleep-depriving sugar. But if you still want ice cream, you can eat it in the morning or after lunch.

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Easy Sleep Guide

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