How Late In the Evening Is Too Late To Eat?

People eat at all times of the day and night, but how late is too late to eat in the evening? Researchers studying how meals affect our bodies at various times of the day say they found that the late night eaters were more hungry, burned fewer calories, and that their fat cells expressed genes that have been linked to fat gain. It’s important to note that this study did not test whether people actually gained or lost weight. Instead, the study was aimed to test the short-term effects of late eating on energy balance regulation, and not whether long-term adherence to such a schedule would result in weight gain over time. In other words, its entirely possible that your body would adapt to the new eating schedule if that’s the way you actually lived your life. It turns out that what you eat is more important than when you eat it. It’s a myth that your body doesn’t burn the calories you eat late at night. Your body burns calories all the time, including when you sleep. In fact, most of your calorie burn happens while you’re resting. What about the idea that eating late at night disturbs your sleep? It might surprise you to learn that late diners may actually sleep better. Studies have shown that those who ate a late dinner had more deep sleep in the beginning of the night. Finally, how late is late? A late meal is eaten less than 2½ hours before bedtime. If you go to bed at 11 p.m., a late dinner would be 8:30 p.m.; if you go to bed at 9 p.m., a late dinner would be 6:30 p.m.. The general rule of thumb is to allow yourself 2½ hours between finishing dinner and going to bed. Meanwhile, if you want to avoid a heartburn flare-up, medical sources usually advise finishing your last meal at least 4 hours before bed. Whatever your mealtime is, just be mindful of your choices and eat healthy, nourishing foods.