The most important and, dare we say, most valued scientific fact about food is that it’s at its peak level of deliciousness when consumed late at night (between 10 P.M. and 12 A.M.). That’s just how it is. Proof? Late night microwaved pizza. You can’t deny that it tastes better when you’re in between watching your favorite Netflix series and falling asleep.
Unfortunately, it’s not very healthy. We feel you. Eating late at night is never ideal, but sometimes it just can't be helped. No one wants to lay in bed at night suppressing their hunger, dreaming of food, and then waking up hangry.
The truth is, there have been conflicting studies on whether or not eating before bed will make you gain weight or boost your metabolism. To help appease your conscience, we’ve gathered information from both sides and, finally, we can give you a confusion-free verdict about late night eating.
The common error
Maybe it’s because of our busy work schedules or our lack of skill in time management that cause us to eat more later in the evening. We get too busy and occupied in the morning that we forget to eat, leaving us starving when we get home late at night.
Before you stress over deadlines and making a good impression to your boss, be sure to fix your eating habits first. Eat regularly throughout the day so you can have a balanced dinner in the evening. This will help you feel better and give you more energy at work.
Metabolism is slower at night
Normally, a person's metabolism drops 10 to 15% when asleep, and may even plummet to as low as 35% during the deepest sleep cycles. This is why the things you eat at night end up as stored fat instead of getting burned.
In order to avoid this, the recommended time for your last full meal should be three hours before you doze off. Eating too close to your sleeping time may disrupt sleep, cause heartburn, and weight gain.
Small, healthy foods will do
While it is good to properly time when you eat, it's even more important to be mindful of what, and how much you eat. Consuming small nutrient-dense foods can actually help your body.
Having small amounts of clean, low-energy food before bed can help regulate blood sugar levels. Carbs (or foods containing carbs) like milk, fruits, and crackers can help you drift off to sleep. However, be sure to eat before bed only to satiate your hunger pangs. Eating because you’re bored or to binge is a definite no-no.
What kind of food are we talking about?
Nutritionists recommend balanced snacks and food that don’t contain added sugars or are overly processed. It’s better to stick with the basics like apple, papaya, kiwi, a small handful of almonds, walnuts, and carrot slices, just to name a few.
You might also want to try having tea or water before going to bed. Not only do they fill you up, but they also keep you hydrated.