We know that craving — it’s late and you should go to bed, but you can’t resist heading to the kitchen. Whether it’s for dinner leftovers or sweet ice cream, that hankering for a midnight snack is hard to beat. But are you aware of how bad it is for you? Eating before bed doesn’t just add to your waistline — it has a shocking impact on your body.
One of the most dangerous side effects of eating late is the effect it has on acid reflux. Eating junk food — a popular go-to late night snack — and then lying down for bed shortly after makes the overflow of stomach acid into the airways a much greater problem. Plus, chronic acid reflux can lead esophageal cancer, and a slew of other sleep-related problems.
Heightened disease risk
That overly-processed and fattening midnight snack can also make you more susceptible to certain diseases. Late-night eating messes with insulin and glucose levels, which puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes, a New York Times article explains. The consumption of fattening foods can also raise your risk of heart disease and make your chances of having a heart attack more likely.
Eating foods with caffeine, including chocolate, can wreck your sleep cycle and keep you up through all hours of the night. And those sugary treats that you reach for before watching TV on the couch? They’ll give you a sugar rush that can either keep you up late, or cause you to have restless sleep.
Fan of spicy foods? You’re better off eating them early in the day. Eating spicy foods, like your favorite Chinese takeout, can give you heartburn that will keep you up all night. WebMD explains that this is an even bigger problem for individuals with acid reflux.
The link between eating late and acid reflux can also make asthma symptoms worse. The body has peak lung capacity during the day, and has a harder time fighting off asthma late at night. Add stomach acid into that mix, and you have a myriad of health issues that are keeping you awake at night.
This isn’t your average snoring. Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing while sleeping due to your airways being blocked. This can be caused by your throat muscles relaxing and cutting into your airway which — drumroll please — can occur if you eat right before bed.
This one is pretty well-known, but must be mentioned anyways. Eat late at night and your body won’t be able to properly burn off the calories that you have consumed. Weight gain over time can lead to obesity which is linked to serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
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