Does The Body Need To Eat Less At Night?

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Does the body need to eat less at night?

 Pros and Cons of Eating Before Bed

There's nothing like a big, home-cooked meal, a late-night chip chowder, or a warm cookie before going to bed after a long day. Is it, however, harmful to eat after bedtime? Is it going to help you lose weight or make you gain weight? What about the effect it has on your sleep? Experts weigh in on these issues, offering advice that is frequently contradictory.

Nutritionists, personal trainers, and sleep experts all have different answers to those questions, and many of them disagree on whether you should eat before bed.

Proponents argue that a large meal can aid in falling asleep—and staying asleep. Many critics argue that eating close to bedtime can lead to weight gain, heart disease, or high blood sugar levels. Sleep is something we do a lot at Lesa. We're sharing some helpful tricks and best practices for your nighttime meals to help you figure out the benefits and drawbacks of snacking before bed.


Benefits of Eating Before Bedtime

According to some experts, a bedtime snack has more benefits than drawbacks and can even be beneficial to your health.


Weight Gain vs. Weight Loss

Many experts believe that eating before bed can help you lose weight rather than gain it. It may seem strange, but your body requires energy while sleeping—after all, sleep is how your body recharges so you can wake up rested and ready to take on the day. Many studies show that your metabolic rate is nearly the same while you're sleeping as it is when you're awake, implying that your body requires nourishment while you sleep.

When it comes to weight gain, the type of meal or snack you consume is a major factor. As previously stated, a high-protein snack combined with some carbs will provide your body with the fuel it requires to function properly while you sleep, resulting in weight loss rather than gain. If you need a late-night snack (or just want to drink something before bed), go for something healthy.

Cottage cheese or turkey (both high-protein) are both high in the amino acid tryptophan and make for a great nighttime snack. Think about how tired you'll be after Thanksgiving dinner if you don't get enough tryptophan. You can also try herbal or decaffeinated teas, some of which are even made specifically for bedtime. Pistachios and tart cherries are both high in melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.


Sleep Better and Fall Asleep Faster

We all have our go-to comfort foods—mac'n'cheese, hot soup, grilled cheese—and just thinking about them makes us hungry. Nothing beats curling up on the couch under a blanket as the ultimate couch potato after enjoying your favorite meal. A big dinner or bedtime snack before bedtime can induce the same coma-like state as eating your favorite comfort foods. Some experts believe that eating late at night leads to better sleep. They claim that if you eat something before bed, your stomach will feel full, allowing you to fall asleep faster and sleep longer. You won't be hungry in the middle of the night, either.

So, are we saying that you can eat all of your favorite foods and still be healthy? not in the least. We're not advising you to eat a gallon of ice cream or a third (or fourth) serving of chicken and dumplings before bedtime. There should be some nutritional value in your evening meal or snack. As a tasty, healthy late-night snack, try an apple with peanut or almond butter or a piece of avocado toast.


Cravings on the Street

Having a small, healthy snack about an hour and a half after dinner can help curb unplanned eating later in the night for people who are comforted by food, specifically a bedtime snack. Plus, if you eat a little more at night, you won't wake up hungry and your stomach growling in the morning. You'll eat fewer calories throughout the day, lowering your daily caloric intake.


The Drawbacks of Eating Before Bedtime

It's common knowledge that eating before bed is bad. We've heard it from personal trainers, read it in magazines, and even heard it from licensed nutritionists. But why is that?


At night, your body slows down.

Many people believe that when you sleep, your metabolism slows down, which means that calories are burned off more slowly. (As a side note, many experts argue that your metabolism is just as active while you sleep–we're not here to offer medical advice, just some ideas.) This is especially true when it comes to carbohydrates. Your body doesn't burn carbs as efficiently while you're sleeping as it does when you're awake and active. Pasta and pizza, as delicious as they are, are probably not the best choices for a late-night meal.


Heartburn and Indigestion

You may experience indigestion or heartburn if you are accustomed to eating a large meal before bed. Even if you don't have indigestion during the day, if you eat a lot (especially spicy foods) and then go to bed right away, laying down can cause acid reflux—that annoying heartburn that makes swallowing difficult, and occasionally, nighttime asthma. Experts recommend spacing your meals and eating before bedtime to give your body enough time to digest your food before you crawl under the covers. If you have been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, you should reconsider your bedtime snack.


Dinner Plate Sizes

Many people become accustomed to eating a large meal in the evening because it is the time of day when they are most hungry. This can start a cycle of binge eating at night (and overeating in general). Consider this: if you're full before bed, you won't be as hungry for breakfast, which means you'll eat less breakfast and have a smaller lunch. You'll be ravenous by dinnertime, and you'll consume more calories than you should (you may even want another small meal or snack after dinner, too). Your body will have more time to digest and metabolize if you can train it to consume the most calories earlier in the day.


Making Poor Decisions

Another disadvantage of late-night meals or snacks is the lack of food variety. As a late-night snack, many people reach for certain foods, such as a slice of pizza or cookies, rather than healthier options. Not to mention that sitting in front of the TV is a popular nighttime snacking activity. You're more likely to overeat if you reach into a bag of chips repeatedly while binge-watching your favorite show. (Guilty!) This can also affect your daily calorie intake, as well as have a negative impact on your health.


Snacking Suggestions for the Evening

Make Good Decisions

Avoid sweets and junk food if you're going to have a bedtime snack or a late dinner before bed. Before going to bed, avoid high-calorie foods, especially those high in sugar and unhealthy fats. For instance, when you swear you'll only eat one Oreo but end up eating the entire row. Hey, it happens from time to time, but it's not a good habit to develop.

Complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as a protein or a small portion of fat, are good nighttime snacks. This snack will give you a boost of energy before bedtime, keep you full all night, and keep your blood sugar stable. Don't bother.


When should you stop eating before going to bed?

So, what is the rule in this case? Should you wait 30 minutes after eating before going to bed, as your mother used to make you wait at the pool after lunch? No, you should give yourself more time. Going to bed after eating should be done at least three hours later, according to experts. This gives your body enough time to digest your food, so you don't have an upset stomach, indigestion, or acid reflux at night. It also aids in your sleep.

This rule does not require you to skip a meal. Life is unpredictable. You shouldn't skip dinner because you won't have three hours between eating and bedtime if you don't get home until 8:30 p.m. and want to be in bed by 10 p.m. The three-hour rule is merely a guideline to follow when you have the time (much like that 30-minute rule at the pool).

Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight.

A fasting period at night, according to many dietitians and nutritionists, can help you lose weight, improve your metabolism, improve your health, and stabilize your blood sugar. Fasting schedules of 12 or 15 hours are popular choices. If you're on a 12-hour schedule, for example, you'll only eat for 12 hours of the day. So, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., you eat from the first thing you eat for breakfast to the last thing you eat, whether it's dinner, dessert, or a snack. Then you fast from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next morning. Fasting can not only help you lose weight, but it can also help you sleep better. You won't be stuffed from a large meal right before bed if you don't eat after 8 p.m. Because your body has already begun to digest your last meal, you will not experience acid reflux when you lie down.

You may still be unsure whether eating before bed is good or bad, which is understandable given the lack of a definitive answer. Everyone's lifestyle, health, and body are different, so you must find the meal schedule that works best for you. It's possible that what works for your partner won't work for you. Whether you enjoy late-night snacks or prefer to stick to the three-hour rule, make healthy choices and listen to your body to stay healthy and get the best, most restful sleep possible.


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