So you’ve had your supper ages ago and now you’re in bed binge-watching a new favourite show when you start craving something lekker to nibble on.
You know that you’re probably not supposed to eat that late though, but you’re just so peckish.
What you might not know is that you’re probably this hungry because you ate supper too early.
According to this study on Science Direct, just like the circadian rhythm (Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals) that controls our sleep, scientists think our bodies have a circadian clock for eating, too.
So our sleep and weight could be affected if we mess with this clock by eating at weird times.
So when is the best time to be eating your supper? I remember being told that you’re not supposed to eat after the sun goes down, but that just doesn’t seem feasible, does it?
According to TIME, Livestrong, and Havard Health, you should be eating supper about three hours before you plan on going to sleep. So if you know you’re a bit of a night owl and only go to bed at 11 or later, you should be eating at eight so your body isn't screaming out for sustenance before bedtime.
But eating three hours before bedtime won’t just help you snack less before bed, it can affect your sleep too.
According to Livestrong, eating a meal raises your blood sugar levels which can interfere with good, healthy, deep sleep. Lying down after just having eaten a meal also increases your chances of experiencing acid reflux or heartburn.
Plus, snacking often means that you’ll be reaching for chocolate or ice cream in the hours before bed and that can lower levels of the hormone melatonin which is supposed to help you feel tired and relaxed enough to go to bed. So if those levels are lower than they should be, then you might have trouble nodding off.
Eating too close to your bedtime is also not good for your waistline. According to Tracy Lockwood, a registered dietician at F-Factor Nutrition who spoke to TIME, whatever you don’t burn off is more likely to be stored as fat and you’re less active as you cool down towards the end of the day.
So basically stick to eating about three hours before you go to bed and try not to snack before you go to bed and you’ll sleep better and be a few kilos lighter.