Late Night Eating and Healthy Digestion

cakes
Avoid sweet, rich snacks at night when your metabolism is slow. (Image: Nuno Garuti/Hemera/Getty Images)

Your regular eating habits influence your metabolism, which influences your digestion of food. You trigger temporary changes in your metabolic rate when you eat more, or less, than usual. Thin people, for example, boost their metabolism when they overeat, and obese people slow theirs when they diet. You also control your metabolism through exercise and maintaining a regular schedule, and you digest food less efficiently when you eat at times when your metabolism is slow.

Eat According to Your Schedule

Woman Eating a Fruit Salad
Eat according to your schedule. (Image: LuminaStock/iStock/Getty Images)

Some people keep unusual hours. If you work a night shift, the time you spend sleeping during the day is the time at which your metabolism enters a resting state. You might have the equivalent of breakfast late in the evening, and take your lunch and dinner while other people are asleep. Under these conditions, maintain regular late-night meals to foster a healthy digestive system. However, if you sleep at night and rise in the morning, eating at night exposes you to weight gain, indigestion and other uncomfortable consequences.

When Your Metabolism Is at Its Best

Man Having Breakfast
Your metabolism slows in the afternoon. (Image: Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images)

Your metabolism begins to slow in the afternoon and continues to decline through the evening. You need to give it a boost in the morning, so eat a full and balanced breakfast soon after you wake up. Keep your morning eating habits consistent, and your metabolism will also remain consistent. Your metabolism slows when you skip meals and, over time, you expose yourself to unhealthy digestion and potential weight gain.

Focus on Breakfast

young woman eating breakfast in bed
Begin your day with breakfast. (Image: Hongqi Zhang/iStock/Getty Images)

Begin your day with breakfast and maintain healthy, consistent eating habits throughout the day. Eating breakfast within two hours of waking curbs your appetite later in the day and diminishes your desire to overeat. Your metabolism speeds up every time you eat, but you encourage healthier and more regular digestion by giving it smaller boosts more frequently. Space your meals and snacks four to five hours apart to prevent your metabolic rate from going too deep into rest during the day, and to prevent yourself from overeating due to the sensation of hunger.

Overcoming Late-Night Cravings

young dark-haired woman drinking water
Try to drink a glass of water instead of having a late night snack. (Image: Eduard Titov/iStock/Getty Images)

You deprive your body of fuel when you stop eating after dinner, and this might cause cravings before bed. You might also awaken during the night to find that you crave a snack, but this is not the ideal time to eat. Try drinking a glass of water instead of snacking. This will give you a feeling of fullness and hopefully quench your craving. If you need more help, push dinner back by an hour to delay the onset of your cravings. Insoluble fiber keeps you feeling full longer. Leafy vegetables are a good source of insoluble fiber, so include them in your dinner. If you still fall victim to late-night cravings, satisfy them with low-calorie snacks such as celery or rice cakes.

Indigestion

Woman with stomach ache
Late-night eating is one cause of indigestion. (Image: AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images)

Late-night eating is one cause of indigestion. If you experience indigestion, take the necessary steps to avoid eating after dinner. Other factors intensify or worsen your indigestion, and they might cause uncomfortable and embarrassing gas as well. When you eat dinner, chew with your mouth closed. Take small bites and chew thoroughly. Avoid rich or spicy foods at dinner and spend time relaxing after you eat.

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