8 Bedtime Beverages That Can Help You Lose Weight

8 Bedtime Beverages That Can Help You Lose Weight
an ill mature man patient in bed at home, drinking hot teaHalfpoint ImagesGetty Images

Poor sleep is tied to weight gain, skewed hormones, next-day hunger, and blood sugar and insulin issues, says Bridget Murphy, R.D.N., C.D.N., at NYU Langone Medical Center.

To score some quality sleep, you’ve got to be careful about what you drink 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. Going to bed hungry can also disrupt your sleep, but you don’t want to consume too many calories before bed if your goal is to lose weight, says Holly Lofton, M.D., at NYU Langone Health.

“I wouldn’t drink anything with calories before bed,” she says. She recommends starting with water or tea before drinking something more substantial.

Here are seven beverages to drink at night if you’re looking to lose weight.

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Milk

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. Milk also delivers protein, which helps support muscle strength and growth.

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Grape juice

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.

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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.

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Kefir

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.

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Protein shake

Soy, in milk or protein powder form, is brimming with the amino acid tryptophan.

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.

For the best benefits, include some Greek yogurt in your protein shake. It’ll supply your muscles with a generous helping of casein protein for better post-workout recovery, she says.

Related: More ways yogurt is a smart choice.

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Water

If you’re drinking water, you’re not drinking calories, and that always helps you get ahead when it comes to weight loss. One study found that drinking water was associated with more restorative sleep (technically, it showed “less non-restorative sleep”), and less daytime sleepiness. And more sleep, as you know, can help weight loss as well.

Drinking water is a fine balance, of course—having too much means you have to get up to pee. So stay hydrated through the day and drink reasonable amounts of water before you turn in.

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Casein Protein Shake

Having protein right before bed—if you’ve worked out during the day—can help stimulate muscle rebuilding while you sleep. Muscle rebuilding is what makes your muscles stronger. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body naturally consumes in a day—your internal furnace burns those calories at a higher rate than people who carry around a higher proportion of fat.

But how well your muscles rebuild their proteins overnight depends on the level of available amino acids, researchers in the Netherlands point out in a study published in the journal Nutrients.

When those researchers gave exercisers a protein drink or a placebo immediately before sleep, they saw that protein synthesis rates were about 22 percent higher in the protein group than in the placebo group. They also suggest that casein protein may be more beneficial than whey, as it digests more slowly, so your body has access to it for longer, but more research is needed on that.

Get all the details about casein protein here.

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Fiber powders

If you’re just looking to curb hunger at bedtime, Dr. Lofton says drinking fiber powder can be helpful.

“It expands in your stomach so that could make you feel full enough to get to sleep,” she says.

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