Do you ever get hungry before bed? Me too, and surprise– we’re not alone. The late-night hunger cravings are all too real. Indeed, a study published in the most recent version of the journal Obesity found that the circadian system (aka our body’s internal clock), increases hunger and cravings for sweet, starchy and salty foods in the evenings. And while you might think you’re safe if you exercise daily, it turns out people who indulge in mindless snacking late night–especially high-calorie foods and beverages–are more likely to be overweight or obese. This isn’t such great news for those of us trying to watch our weight.
So the question on our minds now: What do we do to stop snacking? While researchers can’t quite answer this one, we’re certain mindful distraction works. In order to get to the bottom what should be an easy problem to solve, I reached out to my college community at USC for some healthy ways to avoid my own midnight munching habits. As it turns out, there are a lot of things we can do late-night to avoid snacking.
Ahead, see what 11 college students do instead of giving into the tummy rumbles.
1. PAINT YOUR NAILS
Feeling bored and can’t seem to sleep? Keep your hands busy by painting your nails in fun colors. That way you can’t snack since the polish takes a while to dry – now that’s smart.
2. CLEAN YOUR LAPTOP SCREEN
A very efficient way to keep busy, because let’s be honest, when was the last time you actually did this?
3. Doodle, Draw, or Color
Doodling and coloring is one of the best ways to exercise the right side of your brain. Coloring books aren’t just for young ones, it’s for all of us. Brit Morin, CEO and founder of Brit + Co, says that doodling can help you generate fresh ideas. when you’ve got a bad case of writer’s block.
4. WRITE IN A JOURNAL
Another therapeutic way to distract yourself from snacking is keeping a journal. Whether you’re writing random thoughts, a poem, a love note, or song lyrics, writing is a great way to wind down before sleeping.
5. PUT ON A FACE MASK
Pampering yourself is always fun. Tissue masks are especially great for treating your skin. They’re the perfect pick-me-up for instant radiance.
6. ORGANIZE YOUR JEWELRY
Make sure all your earring backs are put on and all the pairs are matching. And don’t get me started on the laborious task of untangling necklaces – it’ll definitely keep you occupied.
7. PLAY AROUND WITH NEW HAIRSTYLES
Perhaps braids are going to be your new style, or beachy waves. Curl, straighten, twist, clip – the options are endless!
8. LISTEN TO A PODCAST OR WATCH A TED TALK
Swap eating for learning. Any takers for ancient Roman history or motivational talks?
9. STRETCH IT OUT
Yoga is one of the best things to do before bed. Simply stretching out your muscles will do wonders for your body and mind.
Reading is a great way to distract. Whether you’re reading a magazine or an autobiography, reading can help open your mind to new ideas and is a great way to keep busy at night. Scroll down for books I like to keep on my bedstand.
11. TRY TO SLEEP
When all else fails, it’s time to count sheep and try and get a good night’s sleep. It’s the next best thing to snacking.