Eating Late at Night: Foods That Help You Sleep

People always ask me, “Is it ok or is it bad to eat past 7 or 8pm?”

What I always answer is, “It depends.”

The good news is that your body is not a clock, and if you eat past 7 or 8, then you are not suddenly going to gain 10 pounds. What’s more important than the clock is your overall schedule.

No matter what time you begin or stop eating in a day, you need to make sure:

  1. You are eating whole real foods
  2. You are starting your day within 1.5hrs of rising and eating a healthy breakfast
  3. You are eating consistently throughout the day

There is some research that shows when you eat calories late at night you don’t burn them as efficiently. Also when you eat late at night your body is focusing on digesting versus recovering, which is a bad thing. We all need recovery time, aka beauty sleep.

And one group of people that really shouldn’t be eating anything right before bed is those that suffer from acid reflux. (When you lie down soon after eating, you are more likely to have reflux.)

But the biggest thing I see affecting people when it comes to eating late is not that dinner is at 9pm versus 7pm, but rather that they are usually eating extra calories and the wrong type of calories.

3 Reasons Why Most People Eat Late at Night:

1. Hunger. So very often people eat late at night because they’re hungry, but I’m not talking about good hunger like you need a little snack after dinner because you’re burning a lot of calories and your body really needs it.

I’m talking hunger because you’re up until 3 in the morning studying for an exam or watching netflix or out with friends eating late night cheese fries when you should be sleeping.

If you were sleeping you wouldn’t be hungry, and you wouldn’t need those extra calories.

2. Emotions. Sometimes, late night eating is simply emotional eating. Maybe you’re sad, maybe you’re feeling lonely, or maybe you’re happy,  and you’re looking for comfort in a bowl of ice cream.

3. Habit. Sometimes it’s just habit. You go in to turn off the lights in the living room and pass through the kitchen and notice there are leftover cookies whispering your name.

None of these are good reasons to eat late at night.

So what if you’re one of those people that have a little bit earlier schedule and might need a legit night time snack? Sometimes the answer is simply herbal tea. Watch the video and I’ll explain why, and I’ll also give you some great foods that help you sleep when you really want to eat – not sip – something.

Eating Late at Night - Foods That Help You Sleep

About Nutritious Life Editors

The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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