The Science Behind the Midnight Snack

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    The Science Behind the Midnight Snack

    Kayal Musyj | Jul 16, 2015

    We’ve all been there: the pang of a savoury (or sweet) craving in the wee hours of the night. How exactly do the foods we avoid during the day become so alluring at night?


    THE SCIENCE

    The hormone cortisol is responsible for telling the liver when and when not to release sugar into the blood stream. As we wind down in the evening, our cortisol levels decrease, telling our bodies that it’s time for some shut-eye. However, when we stay awake, we make up for this lack of energy by eating high-fat and sugary foods.

    Another culprit for late-night cravings is the hormone leptin. This hormone gives us that satisfied feeling after we’ve eaten, but when we are tired our bodies produce less of it allowing us to consume more than we normally would.

    A third reason is that parts of the brain in charge of decision-making become less active when the body is sleep deprived, resulting in less healthy food choices.

    THE SOLUTION

    Sleep! Lack of sleep and by extension, energy, is the main driver of midnight snacking. If you want to avoid packing on the extra calories late at night make sure you get enough shuteye.

    THE REASON

    We’re not trying to rain on your snack parade, but the fact of the matter is that eating foods rich in fat late at night stunts your sleep. You’re also more likely to experience acid reflex and indigestion, which will definitely hinder your sleep.

    Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/the-science-of-the-midnight-snack/380510/