There are different opinions when it comes to snacking late at night. There are those who say that late-night snacking is bad and there are those who say that eating before you go to bed has health benefits.
Late-night eating can sometimes be hard to avoid. This happens when you finish late at work then go home tired and hungry, you have no other choice but eat. Another possible reason is that you tried to eat very little during the day and this caused you to crave for food at night. One more reason is your circadian rhythm also known as the body’s internal clock. A study showed that the circadian rhythm increases the appetite and cravings at night.
Before you decide if late-night snacking is good or bad for you, try to consider the pros and cons first.
Late-night snacking pros:
Research showed that eating before going to bed can help you go to sleep faster and remain asleep for a longer period of time. Aside from that, having a full stomach can make you lethargic and sleepy. There are even some snacks that have compounds that can help you have a better sleep.
A small planned snack will help prevent craving for and having a big unplanned snack before you go to sleep. It will also prevent you from waking up in the morning with a hungry stomach.
Enhanced body constitution
Research indicates that healthy and active individuals who consume protein before going to sleep can experience an increase in their resting metabolism and muscle mass.
Even at sleep, your body needs the energy to operate. Sleep is the time the body recharges and recovers from the day’s events and makes you feel refreshed when you wake up. The body needs fuel. If there are no calories to burn during the night, your body holds on to fats to fill up the hunger.
Manage blood sugar
Hunger makes your sugar level low. Having a low sugar level leads to reduced energy and this can leave you feeling disoriented or restless when you wake up in the morning. Having optimum sugar levels can increase your energy.
Become satisfied and happy
Stopping yourself from late-night eating can affect your mental health. You might feel deprived and restricted which could lead to anxiety and depression. There’s also a chance that you’ll end up binge eating and gain weight.
Late-night snacking cons:
Unhealthy food choices
Late-night snacking becomes bad when the food you choose to eat is unhealthy. Why would you eat a carrot stick when there’s a bag of chips waving at you? Common late-night snacks like chips, cookies, ice cream, burger, and pizza have lots of calories and are high in fat. If you eat these foods while watching a movie or just surfing the net before going to bed, you tend to eat mindlessly and eat more than you should. This is when late-night snacking becomes harmful.
For the body to work properly, it is advised to eat like a king for breakfast, have lunch like a prince, and have dinner like a pauper. Eating heavily at night would make you feel full in the morning and eat less or skip breakfast and repeat these unhealthy eating habits until it becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of.
Heartburn and indigestion
Eating a heavy meal before going to bed is a recipe for heartburn and indigestion. Laying down immediately after you eat can cause acid reflux that leaves you feeling a burning pain in the chest area which is also known as heartburn. You might also suffer from indigestion and feel abdominal pain while asleep.
Your body doesn’t burn carbs as it does during the day when you are awake and active. This would lead to gaining weight.
Late-night snacks that are healthy:
- Apple with peanut butter
- Cheese and crackers
- Trail mix
- Nuts and seeds
- Other fruits
Late-night snacks that are unhealthy:
- Ice cream
- Red meat
- Cured meat
Depending on the food you choose to snack on before going to bed, late-night snacking can be good or bad for you.
You might also be interested to read Keep Your Fascia Healthy and 18 Simple Ways to Manage Stress.