What happens to your body when you eat late at night?
Are you a night owl who constantly finds yourself eating late at night? Or do you only sometimes get the munchies when the clock strikes twelve? Either way, you’re probably wondering what eating late at night does to your body. In this article, we will find out.
We all have at least one bad habit, right? Some of us snore (not us!), some of us smoke, while others get late night cravings and give into the temptation of food. Whether it be hummus on toast, peanut butter, chocolate or potato chips, we’re hungry, we’re home alone, no one is there to judge us… and, well, we’re gonna eat!
The problem is that, along with feeling a bit guilty about eating so late at night, there are bodily consequences too. See, your body isn’t used to you eating past a certain hour. It doesn’t expect it and therefore it gets a tad grumpy and reacts badly. Here are a few wild things that happen to your body when you eat late at night.
Your sleeping pattern becomes erratic
If you eat late at night and can’t sleep, here’s thing: you’ve not really got any right to complain that you can’t sleep because, well, it’s kinda your fault.
There are many reasons why people can’t sleep at night, but a lot of the time it comes down to our body’s natural rhythms being out of sync. For example, if you’re stressed, a hormonal imbalance will contribute to a lack of sleep. And when you eat late at night, you pretty much let your hormones run riot. Our bodies are affected by when we consume calories and how many we consume. If you start eating past midnight, your body will be all like “Oh, it’s time to eat, guess i gotta wake up.”
And, boy, does it wake up! By eating so late, you’re sending out completely the wrong message to your body. Instead of telling it you wanna sleep, you’re telling it that it’s time to party… and WHO’S GOT THE NACHOS?!
Your metabolism slows down
We often hear people talking about slow and fast metabolisms. But what does this mean? Essentially, a fast metabolism means that your body burns fat quickly and you stay slender. A slow metabolism, on the other hand, burns fat slowly and can be the reason why some people seem to only gain weight, as opposed to losing any. What happens when you eat late at night? Well, it can cause your metabolism to slow down. According to studies, the later we eat, the more calories we consume and the less we sleep. And when we don’t get enough sleep, our metabolism slows and this can lead to weight gain. It’s a pretty viscous cycle but the good news is that it’s entirely in your hands to get out of it. Not eating so late at night means you’ll probably sleep more and your metabolism won’t slow down so much.
You will gain weight
We know how it is: It’s late, you’re really hungry and you convince yourself that you can have something to eat because what’s wrong with a bit of hummus on toast at 1am? It’s only a light snack! However, the most noticeable thing that will happen to you, if you consistently eat late at night is you will gain weight. The reason for this is mostly down to the point we made above – if you eat late, your metabolism will change.
When we eat during the day, we’re pretty active. As such, our metabolism is awake and working just as it should. When it comes to nighttime, however, our metabolism kinda knows that it’s time for bed and it will slow down. If you then eat late at night and try to spark it back into action, you’ll fail – it’s sleepy and doesn’t want to be disturbed! As a result, it will metabolise your food at a slower rate and you’ll gain weight. If you’re trying to lose weight at the moment, it’s a good idea to avoid late night eating.
You will use the toilet more
Are you the kind of person who finds yourself constantly waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom? It’s frustrating but the reason for this could be down to your late night eating habits. When we eat anything, we digest it, use what we can get from it (nutrients etc) and eliminate the rest, either via urination or excretion. It makes sense, then, that whatever we eat late at night will probably need to be eliminated at some point that night. As such, if you have late night eating habits, you might find that you’re using the bathroom more than normal. This not only disrupts your sleeping pattern, but it can also make you tired the next day. Which isn’t cool!
Heartburn and acid reflux
Acid reflux is pretty common but it isn’t nice. When stomach acid travels back up to your oesophagus just after eating and you can literally taste the food again? That’s acid reflux. Sometimes, acid reflux pairs up with heartburn, and while this is usually something that happens infrequently with people, it can cause a LOT of pain. If you experience heartburn and acid reflux consistently, it could mean that you have GERD, a chronic digestive disorder otherwise known as gastroesphogal reflux disease. Eating late at night can trigger GERD, so it’s best that you avoid doing so!
High blood pressure
When we eat is just as important as what we eat. And if you eat late at night, you could increase your risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is bad news because it puts you at risk of heart disease, which is now the biggest killer of American adults. As well as avoiding late night eating, you should also eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you keep all your meals to a fixed period of time and fast throughout the night, you can improve your health.