It’s okay to admit it;
Occasionally, there’s one of those nights when we eat light or early dinner, and then stay up later than usual to binge-watch a new show, catch up with an old friend or work late into the night.
However, a few hours in and you feel a strong desire to reach for your stash of treats or the fridge; you need something to keep hunger away or to simply satisfy your snack craving.
How much of a big deal is snacking at night?
Is it always a bad thing? Is it something you can control?
Read on – Qilo has some interesting information you should know!
Three Must-Knows About Late Night Snacking
- Late-night snacking has a scientific side to it: A good place to approach the subject of night-time snacking is by understanding why it’s such a natural thing for most people. Research has shown that the internal clock of the body, known as the circadian system, is responsible for an increase in hunger and appetite — for sweet, starchy, and salty treats especially — in the evenings. According to a study on Obesity and how the internal circadian clock works, results from a group of volunteers showed that they were in their hungriest state at night time, and it didn’t matter what time they’d had dinner or what they’d eaten in the day-time.
- Late-night snacking affects more than your weight: Just like diet and exercise habits (or lack of), what time you eat is a factor that affects your weight and general body wellness. This is because most people pick unhealthy snack options, coupled with the fact that our metabolism slows down at night, meaning less energy is burnt and more fat is stored. However, snacking at night can have other immediate and long-term effects than rub off on more than just your waistline. It can negatively affect your digestive system, worsen acid reflux and GERD, as well as affect the quality of your sleep. Higher levels of blood sugar, decreased glucose tolerance and an increased risk of chronic illnesses are other issues to worry about if this becomes a habit.
- Late-night snacking isn’t always a bad idea: This is because what you eat is usually more important than when you eat. According to Nutritionist Amy Shapiro, when it comes to late-night snacking, choosing “simple and clean options” does not lead to bad habits or weight gain, but choosing unhealthy options can “start to set your body and mind into unhealthy patterns and affect your weight and health”. For example, a protein shake before bed can even be beneficial for the body. So, when you snack at night, think of anything you eat as fuel that helps your system perform — how much of that fuel do you need if you’re simply lying in bed? Some healthy snack options to consider include berries, cherries, natural yogurt, nuts, etc.
Three Simple Tips For Cutting Down On Late Night Snacking
- Eat balanced meals in the daytime: Eating a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be a great way to curb random snacking at odd hours of the night. Fibers, proteins, and healthy fats are known as filling and satisfying food groups that can help suppress the need to snack often.
- Consider your need to snack: If you’re constantly reaching for your favourite snack at night, it might be time to identify why. Be honest; what’s your reason? For too many people, eating is a mindless activity. Are you actually hungry, or just bored? Is it just stress eating? Are you trying to distract yourself with food? Answering these questions is a step towards knowing how to kick back and resist those urges.
- Don’t stay up late: This one’s pretty straightforward – don’t want to snack late at night? Don’t be awake at night. By making an adjustment to your shut-eye schedule if you need to (especially on days when you have an early dinner), you just might have for yourself an easy way to maintain/lose weight — sleeping!
If late-night snacking is something you indulge in as a night-time ritual, it’s a good thing to understand what it could mean for your body, as well as learn some discipline regarding this habit.
Remember, if you constantly eat for the wrong reasons and at the wrong times, there can be consequences.
To do a better job at managing your nighttime snacking routine, be sure to put to practice this knowledge and make conscious lifestyle changes where you need to!