Whether you admit to it or not, we’ve all gone for a midnight snack, or ate prior to sleeping. Eating well throughout the day is essential in order to obtain good nutrition. Having a well-balanced meal schedule helps you sleep better and maintain a healthy weight. However, have you ever considered if all the myths about night eating are true?
How can this cause harm?
Eating before bed can interfere with your usually balanced meal schedule and can completely throw off your diet. This can lead to many health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Studies show people suffering from night eating often encounter morning anorexia, evening hyperphagia, and insomnia with awakenings followed by food consumption. According to Healthline, eating before bed causes weight-gain due to a decrease in metabolism after falling asleep. Once you’ve gone to bed, the digestive system has difficulty digesting the food eaten prior to sleeping. This causes your body to store those calories as fat, instead of burning them. In most cases, it is perfectly fine to go to bed hungry, as long as you maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Over 1/3 of America’s population is considered overweight or obese. Studies show that one of the main causes of obesity is night eating syndrome (NES). People suffering from this tend to have an abnormally increased food intake after their evening meal or at night. This generally consists of nocturnal awakenings with at least 25% consumption of food from their third meal or dinner, multiple times a week.
In summary, the main effect of eating prior to sleep is weight-gain. This can also cause a very unbalanced diet which can lead to many health problems. Many foods and drinks, such as those containing caffeine or alcohol, can also cause sleep difficulties. However, it is fine to eat easily digestible foods before going to bed. To be perfectly honest, I find myself craving very unhealthy foods at night all the time. This is something that is very difficult to avoid, but something I am trying to improve.