If you love late-night snacks, you may want to rethink your nocturnal eating habits. Studies have shown that snacking right before you doze can add extra pounds and inches. In addition, eating unhealthy foods at night can disrupt your sleep patterns.
Before you reach for that handful of cookies or chips before bed, remind yourself of the potential impact.
Why Would I Gain Extra Weight By Late-Night Snacking?
Plenty of research has been done about the relationship between sleep and weight, and evidence indicates that your body understands when it's supposed to taking in food and when it's not.
When you eat late at night when your body is normally powering down for sleep, organs such as your liver, are not prepared to deal with the sudden influx of nutrients and aren't able to deal with them efficiently. It can also affect your insulin and blood sugar levels, which in turn, affects how your body stores fat.
So, even if you're not eating more on a day-to-day basis than you normally would but are snacking late at night, you could gain weight.
Research has also shown that people who regularly eat later, such as those who eat more than 25% of their food after dinner and night-shift workers, have larger waist sizes and higher body mass indexes than those who don't. Also, when you're fatigued or stressed, eating before bedtime can make digestion more difficult (as well as cause gas, bloating and heartburn).
How Much Should I Eat Before Bed?
One commonly held notion is that you should eat for the activity you plan to do. Because sleeping doesn't require a lot of energy, you probably don't need to eat after dinner, unless you have strenuous physical activity planned for the next morning.
When you go to sleep, it's best to only have enough in your stomach to be able to sleep peacefully and wake up hungry in the morning.
Another point to consider is that the body will feel more full in the morning after breakfast, which prevents overeating during the day. However, nighttime eaters often skip breakfast, triggering another unhealthy cycle.
What Foods Can I Eat Before Bed?
The type of food is important, even as important as the amount, if you decide to snack right before going to bed. Calorie-rich foods like cheese or pizza will force your digestive system to work much harder than it normally would. But simple proteins such as Greek yogurt or a hard boiled egg are much easier to digest.
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