Stomach Growling At Night? Try A Spoonful Of Honey
Honey receives a lot of attention in the well-being space: Well deserved, of course, for honey's boast-worthy antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and humectant properties have been shown to benefit health, skin, hair, and more. But just in case you need another reason to love the amber bee sap: It may keep your hanger levels at bay, especially if you're peckish at bedtime.
In fact, experts encourage a spoonful of honey before bed to keep you satiated throughout the night. Read on, below.
Why you should eat a spoonful of honey before bed.
There's a laundry list of expert-approved bedtime noshes (find 'em all here). But a mere spoonful of honey? Surely it's too good to be true. Not so: According to clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., also known as "The Sleep Doctor," a teaspoon of raw honey about 30 minutes before bed can keep you full, thereby enhancing your snooze. "It can actually keep blood sugar somewhat stable," he notes on the mindbodygreen podcast.
In case you need a refresher: When people wake up to stomach pangs in the middle of the night, it's usually because their blood sugar has spiked, sending messages to the brain that it's time to release cortisol and get some food into your system, like, right now. Perhaps that's why professional biohacker Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof and author of Fast This Way, says in his mbg podcast interview that "Even if I'm fasting, a teaspoon or two of raw honey before bed can make me sleep all night long."
Here's the science: Your brain turns to the liver glycogen1 (aka, your glucose storage tank) to power itself during times when glucose is limited—like, say, when you're fasting, exercising, or clocking hours of beauty sleep. Honey—with its equal amounts of fructose and glucose—can help restore your liver glycogen2 so your brain doesn't use up all that storage. And, thus, no hunger pangs waking you up at odd hours. Not to mention, another study even found that honey activates hormones that suppress appetite and delays the body's ghrelin response3 (that's your hunger hormone).
Aside from keeping you satisfied and snoozing, some studies have shown honey can even enhance the quality of your sleep. Take this randomized controlled trial, for instance, which found that drinking a milk-honey mixture before bed improved participants' sleep quality4. Another study found that children with upper-respiratory-tract infections who supplemented with honey 30 minutes before bed were able to sleep through the night easier5.
Honey has a lion's share of documented health benefits, so consider this yet another reason to swirl some in your nighttime tea. Or perhaps gulp a straight spoonful of the bee sap before bed—you might just sleep soundly through the night.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.