What happens when you go to sleep hungry?
If you don’t keep an eye on the clock, you might occasionally find yourself going to bed hungry or eating late at night instead. Neither are necessarily great options. Skipping meals won’t cure your cravings, and the later you eat, the more likely you’ll make poor food choices. But don’t stress, it’s not necessarily all bad news, according to nutrition experts. If you’re hungry at night, but opt for sleep instead of food, here’s how your body might respond.
You could get less shut-eye
Hitting the hay without eating dinner could leave you tossing and turning into the wee hours of the morning. You might feel fine after skipping dinner, but when you finally fall asleep, hunger pangs keep the brain mentally alert, causing you to not get enough deep sleep at night, according to registered dietitian Wesley Delbridge. Going to bed hungry can actually backfire because you won’t get a full night’s rest, he explains. Try one of these nutritionist-approved healthy late-night snacks to avoid missing your z’s.
You could gain weight
“A lot of people feel like they’re accomplishing something by going to bed hungry,” Delbridge says. But in reality, “the more you feel like you’re starving, the more likely you are to binge later on.” If you wait until you’re extremely hungry to eat, your blood sugar levels could fall so low that you’ll be tempted to wolf down whatever’s in sight. Even worse, sleeping on an empty stomach could lead to a big food binge in the a.m., peaking your blood sugar to unhealthy levels and throwing your metabolism for a loop for the rest of the day. Nibble on a square of dark chocolate or a small handful of nuts, if you’re hungry at night, to hold you over until the next morning.