Why Having Your Protein Before Bed Could Be a Good Thing

The potential health benefits of consuming protein before bed have been a subject of debate in the last several years. Multiple sources contest the proper timing for protein consumption: While some claim that protein before sleep is best for optimum muscle growth, others argue that the time of day in which you consume your protein intake does not contribute to its effects. These studies have yet to present a definitive answer, but a few strong ideas are currently in circulation.

Protein is a large biomolecule (macromolecule) that consists of one or more amino acids that (among other functions) helps to repair body tissue. Our muscles grow and repair themselves while we sleep, so it makes sense that ingesting protein beforehand would help that process. Some researchers have also found that having a protein shake before bed can lead to weight loss. Metabolism of protein may consume more energy than metabolism of fat or carbohydrates, so—in theory—a protein shake could help you burn more energy while you sleep. It’s important to note, however, that protein can potentially disrupt your sleep.

If you choose to consume extra protein before bed with the intention of weight loss, be sure to subtract those calories from your daily limit. Those calories should not be added to your daily calorie allotment.

Yes, Plants Have Protein

Broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak and, per calorie, spinach is about equal to chicken and fish. Of course, you’ll need to eat a lot more broccoli and spinach to get the same amount of calories that you do from the meat.

— Scott Stoll, MD Whole Foods

Many articles describe using protein shakes as an example of a food you can easily consume at bedtime, but more natural foods may be better for your health. Some healthy, high-protein items include:

  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Fish
  • Chicken breast
  • Almonds
  • Oats

A multitude of resources and studies show the possible advantages of having your protein intake before bed. While nothing has been proven yet, each person is different, and it may not hurt to see how your body responds to the change. It may be just the thing you need to help your health and body get to where they need to be.

Editor’s Note: This article contains links to outside information on exercise, fitness or nutrition. Links are provided for awareness about a topic which may not apply to your specific health goals, and the source may publish information in the specific article or in other articles that are not completely tested or proven, or may be superseded by newer research.