Do you find yourself craving a midnight snack? Do the 10 pm munchies hit you? If you do, don’t worry we get it. Unfortunately, the late night snacking can have some negative impacts on our body, specifically our sleep habits.
The timing of a meal or snack does affect how your body stores these extra calories. This is because food is processed differently at different times of the day. This could be a result of the change in your body’s temperature, biochemical reactions, physical activity, hormone levels and absorption or digestion of food.
Research has shown that snacking on high carb or high sugar foods after dinner time, forces your body to convert these extra calories into stored body fat. These calories are stored as fat, and you become more likely to experience weight gain.
While asleep, your body needs to work on essential functions such as; muscle recovery, cell turnover, and enhancing immune functioning. The 7-8 hours that you sleep at night is the only chance in your day that your body has to completely focus on restoring these functions. Therefore, we shouldn’t force our body to use these crucial hours to digest your late night snack. The NIDDK recommends to stop snacking at least 2-3 hours before heading to sleep.
Research has demonstrated that eating prior to bedtime stimulates common issues such as acid reflux and indigestion, which makes it much harder to fall asleep. Dr. Dasgupta suggests that both acid reflux and indigestion cause small bodily arousals that prevent you from both falling asleep and getting into deeper sleep phases. This reduced sleep quality leaves many people feeling groggy and unrested in the morning.
Therefore, try to start reducing your snacking habits in the evening, eat a healthy and nutritious dinner so that you don’t find yourself craving food a few hours later!