In Defense of Midnight Snacks
For as long as I can remember I have been unable to sleep if I’m hungry.
I must eat before bed or I won’t fall asleep. In fact, the nights I have tried to sleep with a hunger pang because I convinced myself I was tired enough, I just ended up lying there until I got out of bed and ate some damn food.
So out of necessity I have been ignoring the rule: “Don’t eat 3 hours before bed” (or whatever variation you may hear) because it was truly impossible for me to follow.
But recently, as I have been reading more about adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism and recovering from diets, it appears that I was onto something all along.
1. If you are in a metabolically compromised state, bedtime snacks are not only ok but beneficial.
And if you have been living your life from diet to diet, and are reading this post, you are most likely in a metabolically compromised state.
The most important way to support yourself through adrenal fatigue or a slow system/hypothyroidism, is to eat. And that includes before bed. (And it can and should include carbs and fat, too.)
2. Calories Don’t Need to Constantly Be Burned Off
One of the reasons people have argued against eating at bedtime, is that your body will turn the food to fat because it can’t burn it off. But this is submitting to the incorrect, stressful (and disordered) assumption that calories need to be manically burned off as soon as they are consumed. This is just false, and also a huge reason why obsessive cardio doesn’t work. Don’t get on the treadmill of calories-burned obsession!
3. True Starvation at Bedtime Can Point You in the Right Direction
If you are hungry at bedtime, chances are you did not eat enough during the day.
If you don’t eat enough during the day, your body is going to need to get those calories one way or another. Logical!
One mistake I would make in my earlier “intuitive eating” days, was to get in a habit of “listening to my body” (not really) during the day and not eating very much, but then by the time bedtime rolled around, I had to eat a huge midnight meal. So if you are extremely hungry at bed time, let this be your FULL PERMISSION to Eat More During the Day.
You clearly need it anyway.