• Nisha Jackson, PhD

How Late-Night Eating Reduces Sleep Quality

Humans are designed to burn fat through the night because it burns long and slow—in contrast to sugar and carbs, which burn quickly. When you eat breakfast, your body stops burning fat. Today, because of undetected blood sugar issues, many people never go into fat metabolism during the night at all. Instead, they attempt to burn sugar and carbs through the night as they did during the day. With sugar and short-chain carbs delivering only short, quick bursts of energy, sleeping through the night becomes an insurmountable task.

As the amount of sleep decreases, blood sugar increases, which only escalates the issue. Lack of sleep has been shown to raise blood sugar levels, and this can dramatically increase the risk of diabetes. Higher blood sugar means less long-lasting fat metabolism in the night and even less sleep. See the cycle?

When you don’t get enough sleep, you wake up tired and reach for that vanilla latte or cola, sending your blood sugar right back up. Without realizing it, cravings for energy drinks, bars, breads, pastas, and sweets become the norm. This constant surge of sugar and simple carbs puts significant strain on the pancreas. The result is a condition called prediabetes, which amazingly affects one-third of the American population. And, according to the CDC, 90 percent of those people don’t even know they have it.

If you are looking to get better, deeper sleep and not be packing on the pounds, consider what is happening when you eat late at night. Eating before bed or drinking right until bedtime (alcohol or sugary drinks) or snacking while watching TV might help you go to sleep, but the interruptions in sleeping will wreak havoc on your metabolism and leave you feeling unrested and needing more sleep the next morning.


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© 2018 by Nisha Jackson

*this degree is from an unaccredited college and is not approved for use in Oregon