Weight Loss

Is it okay to eat peanut butter before bed?

The nutritional content of peanuts may provide health benefits when a person consumes it in moderate quantities. Peanuts are full of nutrients.

Ounce for ounce, peanuts contain more protein than any other nut, at 7 grams per ounce (oz). They also contain:

  • fiber
  • antioxidants
  • vitamins and minerals
  • amino acids

Peanut protein is a plant-based protein, and health experts encourage people to eat more of this food. Other health professionals say that 1 tablespoon of peanut butter is equivalent to 1 oz of lean meat.

Additionally, not eating enough protein can interfere with a person’s sleep. A 2021 study stated that improved sleep quality had associations with a higher protein intake, especially in combination with regular exercise.

Peanuts have a high fat content, but it mostly consists of monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that offers health benefits. In combination with the protein and fiber that peanut butter contains, these fats can make someone feel fuller for longer, stabilize blood sugar levels, and help them sleep.

Peanuts are also high in calories: 1 tablespoon of peanuts contains around 90 calories. However, a person should limit their serving size if they are not actively trying to gain weight.

Combining a small amount of peanut butter with an apple provides a healthy and filling snack that consists of plenty of protein, fiber, and fat.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that all peanut butter must contain at least 90% peanuts in the final product.

According to recommendations from health experts, choosing peanut butter comprising only peanuts means there are no added sugars or fats.

Additionally, a peanut butter that consists of unblanched peanuts — with their skins still on — has been shown to contain higher levels of fiber and antioxidants.

Peanuts also contain significant amounts of antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins. People lacking these micronutrients, particularly vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, may experience difficulties sleeping. Peanut butter also provides many micronutrients and is a good source of vitamin E.

Additionally, it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which the body needs to make serotonin and melatonin. Both melatonin and serotonin help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promote quality sleep.

Late-night snacking can lead to weight gain, and studies highlight a link between diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. A 2019 study suggests this may be because people tend to choose higher calorie foods in the evening.

During sleep, the metabolism slows down and foods take longer to digest.

Many people also tend to overeat in the evenings, especially if they become distracted. Psychological or emotional needs may also influence individual nighttime eating behaviors.

Mindful eating — paying attention to the food and what they are eating — may reduce overeating.

Portion size is also important. As a general rule, snacks should not have more than 250 calories and count towards a person’s daily total of calories.

Daily caloric needs vary depending on activity and age, but most adult females need 1,600–2,200 per day, while adult males need 2,000–3,200.

As part of a balanced diet, a small serving of peanut butter can be a nutritious choice for a nighttime snack.

Combining this with a piece of fruit, such as an apple or banana, or vegetables, such as celery, increases the fiber content and nutritional value of the snack.

Some research shows that eating a healthy snack close to bedtime can help promote restful sleep and regulate a person’s appetite, helping them maintain a moderate calorie consumption the next day.

People should also aim to practice mindful eating and not become distracted while eating in the evenings to help them consume proper portion sizes and feel fuller in the hours before bedtime.

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