Why not to eat at Night?
Some people have a habit of eating very late at night, eating just before going to bed, or even waking up in the middle of the night to snack on something. These habits though may not seem to be harmful, can be the reason for many metabolic and sleep issues.
Nocturnal Eating and Weight Gain
Most often, eating late at night is not a result of hunger, but because of habit. Due to the pandemic, many people have started going to sleep late and waking up late in the morning. Staying up until later, makes people want to eat, and very often, they do not choose to eat healthy food, but calorie-rich foods such as chocolates, chips, pizza, etc. When you snack on food during the day, your body gets the chance to burn off the consumed calories, but this does not happen at night. As a result, there is weight gain, since the calories consumed are far more than the number required.
Nocturnal Eating and Sleep
- Delayed Sleep and multiple awakenings: Foods and drinks such as chocolates, coffee, tea, are rich in sugar and caffeine, may not only delay your already delayed bed time but also cause you to wake up several times at night.
- Acid Reflux and ingestion: People who snack at night tend to snack in large quantities. This can lead to indigestion and acid reflux Acid Reflux tends to get worse at night and may wake you in the middle of the night and cause difficulty falling back to sleep.
- Heartburn: Excessive eating can cause heartburn and the effects of heartburn exaggerate at night and cause uncomfortable sleep.
Nocturnal Eating and Future Health Risks
Nocturnal eating habits increase your risk of suffering from Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease.
Obesity: Having a calorie intake higher than what is required, leads to weight gain. Eating regularly late at night puts you at a risk of becoming obese which in turn leads to a number of health problems in itself.
Diabetes: Nocturnal eating habits also puts you at a risk of developing diabetes later on in life, which will then restrict your food intake and put you at risk of developing secondary infections.
Heart Risk: Snacking regularly at night can increase your cholesterol level and build up in your arteries that puts you at risk of developing cardiac risk, high blood pressure, and other heart-related conditions later in life.
Avoid Going to Bed Hungry
Some people who are on weight-loss diets may think that they must avoid consuming all kinds of food after a certain time in the day, but one must definitely not go to bed on an empty stomach. This is because:
- Your body may not be able to get enough nutrients to carry out repair and regenerative functions during sleep due to lack of nutrients.
- Going to bed on an empty stomach can wake you up in the middle of the night, as you may feel hungry, which will then affect your sleep at night and consequently your day time functioning.
Certain foods that are rich in tryptophan and melatonin are also recommended to be consumed before going to sleep, as they help to induce sleep and regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
In conclusion, one must not eat at night to avoid excessive weight gain, to reduce the risk of being obese, or to develop diabetes and heart disease later on in life. The gap between the last consumed food and bedtime should be sufficient enough to allow digestion and negate any effect of the food consumed on your sleep.
To seek help or know more about the ill effects of midnight snacking, you can visit the Neurology and Sleep Centre, the 1st sleep centre in the country accredited by the Indian Board of Sleep Medicine at L-23, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi, Delhi-110016 (INDIA)
Or give a call on +91-11-46070321, +91-9643500270