You’ve probably heard (more times than you can count) about the evils of eating before bed. In particular, you’ll have been told that it will inevitably lead to weight gain. I disagree with this sentiment. Gorging yourself on a loaf of French bed right before hitting the sack is definitely not going to do you any good, but a small, healthy snack just might.

If you’ve been treating yourself like a Gremlin and avoiding food after a certain time every day and yet still find the scale stuck on that number that’s a little bigger than you’d like, maybe it’s time to try something new. Next time your stomach is growling up a storm before crawling into bed, give in—you might be surprised by what happens.

Here are five surprising reasons why eating before bed can actually be a good idea.

1. It can help you lose weight

That’s right, you read that correctly. Eating a snack before bed can actually help you lose weight, despite what you’ve heard. Specifically, eating at regular intervals throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable, which helps prevent fat storage. A small snack before bed will give your body the boost it needs to get through that long overnight fast until breakfast time rolls around. Another weight loss perk of a bedtime snack is that it’ll give your metabolism a little nudge in the right direction.

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2. It can help you sleep better

Have you ever tried to sleep on an empty stomach? It’s fairly difficult, and when you do fall asleep, it’s generally not very restful. A pre-sleep snack will give your tummy just enough satisfaction to quiet it down for the night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best bedtime snack is one that contains both a carbohydrate and protein component—proteins are the building blocks of tryptophan (an amino acid that causes sleepiness), and carbs make tryptophan more available in the brain.

3. It can fill in the gaps

A bedtime snack can give your body that extra boost of nutrients you may not have gotten during the day. When you’re busy during the day, it’s hard to get all those fruits and veggies worked into your schedule. If you’re eating a snack before bed, it generally means you’re in the comfort of your own home, which means you have access to good, nutritious food. Take the opportunity to feed your body something wholesome before giving it time to rest.

4. It gives you a healthier option

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Many times, we fall into the dreaded bedtime hunger trap—as the time for lights out draws near, so does that nagging hunger pang. It’s easy to saunter to the fridge and pull out a pint of ice cream or reach for another quick, convenient item that may not be the best choice. Pre-planning a snack before bedtime can keep you from waking with a chocolate hangover and a strong feeling of regret in the morning. If you’re already planning on eating something before bed—say, an apple with peanut butter—it’s much easier to abstain from the less-than-stellar options in that window between dinner and bed.

5. It can get you off on the right foot the next day

You know those days when you have an especially healthy breakfast and you feel great, knowing you can take on anything? A nutritious snack before bed can give you the same sense of well-being. Giving your body a little something extra right before bed may also help your morning rises seem a bit less harsh.