Who says we can’t eat late at night? The theory is at least a dozen years old – it probably originated because a dozen or so years ago, people had a different daily routine than they do now. Most of them went to sleep around 7 – 10 p.m., and that’s why eating the last meal of the day at 6 p.m. was a good choice.
What if you work out before bed and sleep late?
Does this apply to someone who sleeps at 2 a.m. and works out at 11 p.m.? The most recent research shows that a post-workout meal is the most important meal of the day for those who train. This is because when we work out, our body loses valuable vitamins and minerals, and our muscles lose glycogen. In order to replenish these losses, we need to have a post-workout meal.
There’s a good reason why we say that muscles grow while we rest and sleep: our muscle tissue rips while working out, and we can only help rebuild it through proper regeneration – that means, having a proper diet and good quality sleep.
What if you work out in the morning?
The same goes for whether you work out in the morning or afternoon. Even if we aren’t working out a few hours before going to bed, our body needs macronutrients and micronutrients during sleep to rebuild the resources lost during the workout.
When it comes to fat burning, having a meal a few hours before bed is also extremely important. Providing your body with all the calories in the morning and afternoon while fasting at night isn’t the best solution, since it leaves most people feeling unsatisfied. When you go to sleep at 2 a.m., for example, and eat your last meal at 6 p.m., that means you’ll have to go through an 8-hour fast before you get to bed. This could leave you feeling down and tired, even if you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
So, what’s the best solution?
The time you have your last meal of the day is a very individual matter – there are people who feel better after having a larger breakfast, and those who feel better after having a larger dinner.
According to the latest research, the best and healthiest solution for those who want to watch their weight is eating the last meal of the day anywhere from 1 to 3 hours before bed. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, this is a very individual matter – there are people who can eat a meal 30 minutes before bed, or 4 hours before bed, and still feel great.
To sum up, eating at night doesn’t make you gain weight. Whether you lose fat or not depends on your caloric balance – the number of calories consumed per day and the amount of physical activity.
So, the timing of your last meal of the day is a very individual matter, and the only way to determine which solution is best for you is to test them all out and see how you feel. Try to eat your last meal 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and 4 hours before bed and check how you feel in the morning. You can look at factors such as fatigue, sleepiness, energy during the day, weight changes, and your mood.
Contrary to popular belief, these tiny details – like the timing of your last meal, or how many hours of sleep you’re getting – play a crucial role in our health and well-being. Sometimes, instead of drinking that third coffee, taking extra supplements, or changing your diet for the third time, it’s better to take care of your daily rhythm and meal times.