Is It Really Bad to Eat Before Bedtime?
Lots of people believe it’s a bad idea to eat before going to sleep. This generally results from the belief that eating before going to sleep triggers gaining weight. But, some claim that a bedtime snack might actually assist a weight loss diet.
Now the question is: In what you should believe?
The simple truth is, the answer isn’t the exact same for everybody. It actually depends very much on the individual.
Eating Before Bed Is Controversial
You should eat before bed or not, (defined as between dinner and bedtime) has now become a popular topic in nutrition.
Traditional knowledge states that eating before bed leads to weight gain simply because your metabolism slows down once you fall asleep. This brings about any undigested calories to be stored as fat.
But still, numerous health professionals say that eating before bed is absolutely okay and might even enhance sleep or weight loss. For that reason, it’s no great surprise that lots of folks are confused.
The evidence on the matter basically is supporting either side, which is part of the problem.
Despite the fact that plenty of people believe that a slower metabolism while sleeping leads to weight gain, your night time basal metabolic rate averages just like throughout the day. Your body also needs lots of energy while you sleep.
Additionally, there is no evidence promoting the idea that calories count more before going to sleep compared to they do at some other time of the day. Still, even though there appears to be no physiological reason why a few studies have connected eating before bed with weight gain.
What precisely is going on here? The reason may not be what you expect.
Eating Before Bed May Lead to Unhealthy Habits
The present evidence shows not a single physiological reason why eating before bed should lead to weight gain. On the other hand, a few studies show that individuals who eat before bed usually tend to gain weight. The reason behind this is much simpler than you could possibly expect.
It turns out that individuals who eat before bed are more inclined to gain weight generally because a bedtime snack is an extra meal and, therefore, extra calories.
Not just that, but the evening is the time of day when lots of people often feel the hungriest. This clearly informs that it even more likely that a bedtime snack will end up pushing your calorie intake over your daily calorie needs.
Include the truth that almost all people like to snack at night while watching TV or perhaps working on their laptop or computer, and it’s not surprising that these habits might cause weight gain. Some individuals also become really hungry before bed simply because don’t eat as much as necessary during the day.
This huge hunger can result in a cycle of overeating before bed, then being too full to eat much the tomorrow morning, and again becoming extremely hungry before bed the next evening. This cycle, which could quite easily result in overeating and weight gain, shows the importance of making sure you eat as much as necessary during the daytime.
For many folks, the issue with eating at night is not that your metabolism switches to storing calories as fat at night. Instead, weight gain is brought on by the unhealthy habits that usually accompany bedtime snacking.
Eating Before Bed Is Bad If You Have Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease ( GERD ) is a condition that upsets around 20–48% of Western populations. It happens when stomach acid splashes back into your throat.
Symptoms include heartburn, worsening nighttime asthma, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the throat.
In case you have some of these symptoms, you may need to avoid snacking before bed. Eating before bed could make symptoms even worse because having a full stomach when you lay on the bed makes it incredibly easier for stomach acid to splash back up into your throat. For that reason, if you have reflux, it’s smart to avoid eating anything for a minimum of 3 hours before lying down in bed.
Furthermore, you might need to keep away from drinking or eating something containing caffeine, alcohol, tea, chocolate or hot spices. All these foods can worsen symptoms.
Eating Before Bed May Have Some Benefits
Eating before bed is not the best idea for some people but it can be beneficial for other people.
Some evidence implies that, instead of causing weight gain, having a bedtime snack may very well help some individuals lose weight.
In case you’re someone who often eat a large portion of your calories throughout the night ( usually after going to bed ), having a quick snack after dinner can help control your wish to have nighttime snacking.
In one 4-week study of grown-ups who were night-snackers, participants who began eating one bowl of cereal and milk 1.5 hrs after dinner consumed about 397 fewer calories during the day.
At the end, they lose about 0 .84 kilograms from this change alone.
This research implies that adding a small after-dinner snack can help night-snackers feel satisfied enough to eat much less than they would normally. After a while, it would also have the potential benefit of weight loss.
It May Help You Sleep Better
Not a lot researches have been carried out on this theme, but lots of individuals claim that eating something before bed can help them sleep far better or prevents them from waking up hungry through the night.
This makes sense because a snack before bedtime can assist you to feel satisfied overnight. Having enough sleep is really important, and lack of sleep has been associated with overeating and weight gain.
You cannot find any proof that a small, healthy snack before bed results in weight gain. Therefore, if you believe that eating something before bed allows you to fall asleep or stay asleep, then you should feel good about doing so.
It May Stabilize Morning Blood Sugar
Each morning, your liver begins to produce extra glucose ( blood sugar ) to supply you with the energy you need to get up and start out the day.
This process leads to barely any change in blood sugar for folks without diabetes. Nevertheless, some individuals with diabetes can’t generate enough insulin to remove the extra glucose from the blood.
Because of this, people with diabetes universally wake up in the morning with high blood sugar, even if they haven’t consumed anything since the night before. This is known as the Dawn Phenomenon.
Other folks could experience nocturnal hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar overnight, which may interrupt sleep.
If you experience both of these phenomena, you should consult with your doctor about having your medication adjusted.
Additionally, a couple of studies have suggested that a snack before going to sleep can help prevent these changes in blood sugar by giving an extra source of energy to help get you overnight.
Of course, the research is mixed, so this can’t be appropriate for everyone.
If you have high or low blood sugar in the morning time, seek an advice from your doctor or dietitian to check if a bedtime snack is a good idea for you.
What Should You Eat Before Bed?
For many people, it’s completely fine to have a snack before bed. You cannot find any recipe for the ideal bedtime snack, but there are actually a few things you should keep in mind.
Avoid Desserts and Junk Foods
Although eating before bed is not necessarily a bad thing, eating traditional dessert foods or junk foods, for example, ice cream, pie or chips isn’t a wise idea.
These food types are usually high in unhealthy fats, added sugars and cause cravings and overeating. They make it super easy to go over your daily calorie needs.
Eating before bed doesn’t actually make you put on weight, but filling up on these calorie-dense foods before bed definitely can, so you should certainly avoid them.
In case you have a sweet tooth, strive a few berries or some squares of dark chocolate ( unless the caffeine bothers you ). Or, if salty pleasures are what you prefer, get a handful of nuts instead.
Combine Carbs With Protein or Fat
Not any food is actually the “best” for snacking before bed. However, a pairing of complex carbs and protein, or a little fat, is probably a good way to go.
Complex carbs like for example whole grains, fruits, and vegetables offer you a stable source of energy as you fall asleep.
Pairing that with protein or a small amount of fat can help keep you full through the night and keep your blood sugar stable. However, these combos might have other benefits as well. Certain evidence shows that eating a carb-rich meal with a higher glycemic index before bed may help you fall asleep. The reason is that carbs can improve the transport of the amino acid tryptophan, which can be converted into neurotransmitters that help regulate sleep.
The same effect could be true for foods packed with tryptophan itself, such as dairy, fish, poultry or red meat.
Some evidence likewise implies that a meal high in fat can improve sleep quality. Few snack ideas include an apple with peanut butter, whole grain crackers and a slice of turkey, or cheese and grapes.
Should You Eat Before Bed?
The answer to whether or not it’s a bad idea to eat before bed really depends on you and your habits. It’s not wise to make a habit of snacking on junk food before bed. It’s also unwise to eat a large portion of your calories during the night. Nevertheless, it’s entirely fine for many people to have a healthy snack before bed.