We all know about our circadian rhythm and how it controls and wake and sleep cycles throughout the day, but do you know that research is now pointing to ways that disrupting our body’s natural circadian rhythm by eating large meals or snacking late at night can lead to metabolic issues and weight gain.
Research suggests that to improve your metabolic health and to have the best chances at your body’s own hormones regulating throughout the day, you should aim for eating in an 8-10 hour window during the day, instead of the typical 15-hour window that most Americans currently follow. This approach to eating is known as early time-restricted eating. This stems from the fact that your hormones, enzymes and digestive systems are primed and ready for nutrients in the morning and afternoon.
During the day, the pancreas secretes insulin which will control blood sugar, at night this production goes down, making it more difficult for your body to control what is coming into as fuel. What happens when you eat that large meal at 9:00 p.m. when your brain is telling your body to slow down and preparing you for sleep, your body will become confused and instead of your body clock thinking it’s almost time for bed, it will think it’s daytime. The cycle becomes disrupted for the whole night and the process continues. Research says that instead of starting your day with just coffee in the morning, eat your whole, nutritious foods during the morning and afternoon times and lighter foods in the late afternoon and early evening. While this is still under further research, it does in fact make sense to try for yourself. If your sleep is often interrupted, take note on what time you ate, and what you ate. This may give you a clue as to why you feel the way you do and how listening to your body can help.
O’connor, A. (2018, July 24). When We Eat, or Don’t Eat, May Be Critical for Health. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/well/when-we-eat-or-dont-eat-may-be-critical-for-health.html