IntroductionOur hectic schedule and unhealthy lifestyle force us to binge late in the night. We all have heard many times how unhealthy it is for body and overall health. It is good to eat at least three hours before bedtime. Eating just before going to bed is not at all good for our body. Also, some of us love having a snack in the middle of the night because of the hunger pangs or simply because of an inability to sleep. Also, some of us love to eat our favourite snacks to remain awake for late-night work. It is not healthy to eat during late-night hours. If we do so we are interfering with our body's natural rhythm cycle which is also known as a circadian rhythm. According to it, night hours are meant to sleep and not remain awake and eat. Day time is working time. It is the time when nutrition has to be provided for the body. We have to bear certain negative impact when we cause interference and alter the rhythm. Below are mentioned top reasons to avoid eating late night meals and midnight snacks.
Significant reasons to avoid late-night meals
- Night binge causes insomnia - When we eat late at night or close to our sleeping time, we are overloading our digestive system. When we sleep at night, our digestive system is busy in digesting all that food that we just ate. Also, when we are in the supine position, the functioning of the digestive system slows down. It means that it has to work for prolonged hours. When our stomach is busy digesting food, how can we enjoy a sound sleep? It also happens when we eat heavy meals during night time. Eating too close to bedtime and eating large portions with lots of spices and heavy ingredients can keep us awake all night. Acidity and heartburn that we experience due to improper digestion interfere with our sleep. It can lead to insomnia or sleeplessness. Also, it is not good to drink coffee, cold drinks and all those caffeinated drinks that can interfere with our sleep during night time. Thus, we need to eat light at night and preferably at least three hours before night time. If we feel like eating something near to bedtime, we can indulge in healthy snacks that are light and can be easily digested before we go to bed such as a piece of fruit or a small bowl of oatmeal.
- It increases the risk of obesity - We skip our meals in the day because of our hectic work schedule and end up eating too much during night time. In the process, we eat too many calories, in fact, more than what is required for our body. Moreover, the calories may come from unhealthy and fatty foods which can increase inches to our mid-section. We do it as we crave for the delicious food because we have skipped the earlier meals. When we are starving, we rarely consider whether the calories are coming from healthy or unhealthy sources. Some of us after a tiring day like to relax in front of the television or spend time online and alongside remains favourite food. Thus, it becomes a perfect means to mindless binging on lots of calories that can slowly and gradually make us obese. The science behind it is when we eat our meals in the evening; we are behaving as per our body's natural rhythm. Our fat tissues contain regulatory elements. Their proper functioning will ensure that we do not put up weight. When we binge late night, we are interfering with our body's clock. Consequently, excessive fat gets stored in the tissues as regulatory elements are not able to function smoothly i.e., their function is impaired.
- It deteriorates physical health - Insulin can regulate blood glucose level in the body. However, at night time our insulin using ability decreases. It means when we timely consume our last meal of the day, we are making sure that our insulin using ability is efficient and thus, our blood sugar level is regulated. When we eat at late night, insulin is not able to function efficiently. Consequently, the blood sugar level in the body rises. It is more problematic to diabetic individuals in whom insulin production is impaired. Also, it is better to avoid high-glycemic-index foods in our last meal of the day to make sure that blood glucose level in the body remains regulated. An unhealthy lifestyle that leads to the fluctuations in blood glucose level can be bad for health and soon make a person diabetic. Also, eating late night can raise the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body which is not good for the heart and overall health.
- Midnight snacking can lead to addiction - Eating something before bedtime or waking up in the middle of the night to satisfy hunger pangs occasionally is not a matter of concern. If we make it into a habit, soon it becomes an addiction. If we love to binge on our favourite food just before going to bed and we start doing it every night, we will develop it into a habit. For a few days, if we start eating at midnight when we wake up to go to the washroom, we soon will get addicted to the habit. Also, some of us love to snack even after finishing a heavy meal. All these acts are considered as mindless eating or mindless snacking which means that our body does not require such calories but we love to eat them anyway. We initially take the liberty of snacking one day. We love it and then continue it for a few days. Soon the act becomes a habit which in no time can become an addiction. When it becomes an addiction, we will not be able to sleep until we satisfy ourselves by binging on our favourite foods. To avoid our acts from turning into habits or addiction, we should be a little careful and not allow ourselves to enjoy liberty every day.
ConclusionIt is easier to give a number of excuses for having late night dinners such as hectic schedule, traffic jams and late-night parties. Neither having heavy dinner close to bedtime nor waking up in the middle of the night for binging on favourite foods is healthy. Following a healthy lifestyle is necessary. Dinner should always be the lightest meal of the day and should be eaten at least three hours before going to bed. Temptation can be avoided by showing some self-control. Also, hunger pangs can be controlled by eating healthy and easily digestible foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Late night meals and midnight snacking can cause various problems such as acid reflux, slow digestion, weight gain, disturbed sleep, risk of suffering from diabetes etc. Moreover, it can turn into an addiction. To remain healthy and fit, try to avoid late-night dinners.