Eating a small high protein, moderate fat meal right before you go to bed helps to keep the metabolism fueled during your "fasting" hours while you are sleeping. When you pair a lean protein (I usually opt for a protein powder as opposed to a whole food protein) with a fat source, it slows down the digestion process and gives your body something to metabolize throughout your sleeping hours.
It is also a well-known fact that going to bed hungry can have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep. Hungry people often do not sleep well and/or have interrupted sleep. Eating a small meal before bed will help ward off hunger pangs and late night cravings that are common for many people.
So what should you eat?
Well, like I said, I like to use a protein powder instead of a whole food source, but either one is fine. Casein protein is a slower digesting protein which makes it a good choice for your bedtime meal. A blend will also work as will a whey protein isolate. Really, any protein will do. If you prefer something besides protein powder, low fat cottage cheese, eggs or nonfat, low sugar Greek yogurt are great options as well. Add 10 almonds or a tablespoon of nut butter to your protein source (eggs are all you'll need if you're eating the yolks) to help so down the digestion of your protein.
This is what I've been doing on my busy nights - 12oz unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of Siren
Labs Isolate and 1 Tablespoon PB2. I only opted for the PB2 because I can just shake it with the almond milk and protein powder and it's just quicker and easier than real peanut butter. Sometimes, life is busy, we get tired and it's ok to compromise and not be exactly perfect on your nutrition. Don't get obsessed with having to be perfect. Real peanut butter would be better but many nights lately, I'm tired after a long day of running kids around, taking care of kids, working, etc and quick and easy is what I need. If that's you too - cut yourself some slack. Dump some good stuff in a shaker, shake it up, drink it up and GO TO BED!!