The sight of someone contemplating a midnight snack with an open refrigerator late at night is ridiculously common in every household. The situation is especially true for those who prefer early dinner or have a super-fast metabolism and hence crave something to eat every few hours.
Nighttime snacking will certainly halt your cravings and leave your belly feeling full. However, with all the side effects it has, from the impact on your work performance the next day to weight gain, the question here is whether or not these midnight snacks are good for your body and mind.
The following article discusses some potential side effects of eating close to bedtime you must know about.
You May Burn Less Fat And Gain Weight
Weight loss and midnight snacks don’t really go hand in hand. Several studies suggest multiple disadvantages of eating late at night for those who wish to shed a pound or two.
According to a study in PCOS biology, individuals who had a meal late in the evening were seen to have burned less fat in comparison to those who had it early, despite their calorie intake and activity levels being comparable.
Similarly, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published a study that further discusses how people who had dinner at 10 pm against those who had it at 6 pm were more likely to reduce their fat oxidation rate and develop glucose intolerance. The same also leads to a potential increase in the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Therefore, if avoiding weight gain is one of your health goals, make sure you achieve your calorie intake for the day with fulfilling meals, including an early dinner. It will give you a sense of full stomach at night to halt cravings and break the cycle of these cravings by not letting you feel full the next morning so as to skip a meal and crave again at night.
You Might Kill Your Good Night’s Sleep
While at first glance, it may inevitably seem like having something to end cravings will get you better sleep instead of going to bed with a growling stomach. However, it is not as simple, with morning exhaustion and late-night snack being more interrelated than may appear.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in the year 2011 published a study according to which those who ate close to bedtime, in a group study subjects of 52 adults, were more prone to experiencing sleep disturbances.
It also took them much longer to fall asleep with reduced REM sleep than those who were allowed to elapse sufficient time between sleeping and the last meal.
Therefore, though it is certainly hard to fall asleep with an empty stomach, nighttime snacking is not a good option either. So what should be done?
Have dinners at a fixed time, at least a couple of hours before bedtime, so you do not really feel the desire to much on something else as you sleep. Giving time to your system to process the food a little before lying down will help get you a good night’s sleep and certainly make you feel more refreshed the next morning.
You May Develop Metabolic Syndrome
A metabolic syndrome, in broad terms, is a cluster of conditions, including increased blood pressure, excess abdominal fat, elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, and high blood sugar. It also puts one at the potential risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
And, as you might have guessed, anyone who typically eats right before bed is at a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
It is backed by a study published in 2018 by BMC public health, discussing how among a group of 8000+ adults aged between 40 to 54, women who either consumed snacks after dinner or had dinner late in the evening were more likely to develop the metabolic syndrome.
But that’s not all; the same study also revealed that both men and women who ate late were more likely to suffer from dyslipidemia, a condition marked by abnormally high cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and some cases even both.
Your Performance The Next Day Will Drastically Decrease
Well, it certainly does not take much for one to have an entirely bad day once it starts on the wrong foot. And those mentioned above, including poor sleep and health conditions, is enough to set it that way.
Furthermore, eating late also makes one prone to headaches and diarrhea the next day, besides other physical issues and conditions. Therefore, try avoiding nighttime snacking, especially days following an important work schedule.
Nighttime Snacking Is Not Good If You Suffer From Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition under which gastric contents like the acid in the stomach splash back into your throat. And, the condition is fairly common, with a considerable percentage of Americans suffering from it. The symptoms of it include –
- a lump in the throat
- difficulty swallowing
- dental erosions
- chronic cough
If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above, eating at least 3 hours before bedtime is the way to go, as lying down facilitates regorging.
What’s more, even if you must eat, make sure to have healthy bedtime snacks and avoid eating or drinking anything that contains alcohol, caffeine, tea, hot spices, or chocolate, as these foods further worsen the symptoms.
To avoid nighttime snacking is as imperative as eating healthy at the right time of day. However, this does not mean one must strictly bring it into action and not eat even under intense hunger at night.
You must make sure you are eating healthy foods such as tart cherries that help treat sleep disorders, peanut butter, roasted chickpeas, Greek yogurt, and high fiber food to promote sleep and manage blood sugar levels, etc., close to bedtime if you must. Happy Scrolling!