Late-Night Eating and Metabolism – Video with Emily Rosen

Sleep is not only good for having great dreams and feeling well rested in the morning. Sleep has some amazing benefits when it comes to natural appetite regulation and our healthiest nutritional metabolism. It’s time that we fully take advantage of the great metabolic gifts of sleep if we want to have the kind of energy and health that we know deep down inside we’re meant to have. In this informative video from IPEtv, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating covers topics such as eating before bed and how it impacts sleep, why we often feel tired and toxic in the morning, how to maximize your capacity to heal and regenerate while you sleep, how what we eat during the day impacts our appetite the following day, and more. This is a practical video with lots of great tips that you won’t want to miss!

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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Hi, I’m Emily Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s Topic: Late-Night Eating and Metabolism

Sleep is not only good for having great dreams and feeling well rested in the morning. Sleep has amazing benefits when it comes to natural appetite regulation and our healthiest nutritional metabolism. But when we eat late at night, it can often have some unwanted effects on the sleep state.

Let’s dive into this fascinating topic:

Are you the kind of person who eats a lot of food late at night?

If so, one of the downsides of consuming a high volume of food before bed is that we miss some of the great metabolic gifts of sleep. As you slumber at night the body shifts the bulk of its metabolic focus to the maintenance, detoxification, repair, and growth of its tissues and organs. When you grow new muscle and bone, you do so as you sleep. The liver, which is our primary organ of detoxification, does the bulk of its work in the late evening and early morning hours. Sleep is not the most well publicized of our metabolic activators, nor is it the sexiest.

But if this rhythm isn’t fully honored, we pay the price.

By consuming a big meal right before bed, much of the metabolic energy that is usually spent on maintenance, detoxification, repair, and growth is necessarily rerouted into digestion. That’s simply how the body works. Short-term survival needs take precedence over long-term ones. So with an excess of blood flow and metabolism focused on processing your meal as you sleep, you’ll most likely wake up feeling congested and heavy because you didn’t detoxify fully during the night.

The period between dinner and breakfast is evolution’s built-in fast. That’s because the fasting state is the ideal biological milieu to rebuild the body.

And that’s also why breakfast is called “break-fast.”

We’re ending this necessary fasting period with food in the morning.

So if you wake up feeling tired and toxic from eating a large, late dinner because you didn’t have real, relaxed meals during the day, you’ll naturally repeat this arrhythmic pattern. You won’t be hungry in the morning because your body will still be in detoxification mode when instead it should be readying itself for the metabolically stimulating activity of eating. Lunch will then feel to your body like breakfast and dinner will be interpreted by the body as lunch – time for the biggest meal. Some time after the dinner that your body thought was lunch, you’ll likely be looking for “dinner” and end up having late-night snacks.

Oftentimes, you’ll hear nutritionists recommend that you eat your evening meal about four hours before bedtime. A four-hour time period is quite sufficient for most people to metabolize a meal. You will then go to bed without raising your body temperature through the metabolic effect of food, thus increasing your probability of restful sleep. You’ll also do what you were meant to do while lying in bed – healing, detoxifying, rebuilding, and so forth – without sidetracking vital metabolic force into digestion.

To accomplish this, you may need to retrain your body and reorient your lifestyle. Focus on having a smaller and earlier dinner and have a more robust breakfast.

Eating a relaxed, sane, sensuous lunch makes it easier to have a lighter dinner.

If you know you’re going to have a late dinner and that’s simply what your schedule is going to be because there’s no way around it, you can still help yourself with this reliable trick: have a substantial snack sometime before dinner, approximately two to three hours earlier, and eat less at dinner. The snack will decrease your evening-time appetite and you’ll essentially be buying these calories from dinner and expending them earlier, when you’ll better use them and burn them anyway. This strategy is also useful if you find yourself coming home from work and feeling ravenous at dinner. By a substantial snack, I mean anything that has some healthy protein or fat: nuts and seeds, trail mix, nut butter, yogurt, hummus, guacamole, and for non-vegetarians – high quality and organic eggs, fish or meat.

Because of our work style, many of us ignore food and nourishment while we attend, frantically, to business. But this always catches up with us. The minute we return home from the office, the brain finally has permission to attend to our needs. But instead of calmly informing us that we neglected to rhythmically feed the body and nourish the soul during our workday, it jumps all over us like a neglected dog and barks out “I’m hungry!” The ravenous sensations we experience can be overwhelming, causing us to overeat. We then feel guilty and try to make up for our lack of willpower and control by following a tougher exercise regime.

Can you see how oftentimes our solutions to nutritional problems really have nothing to do with the actual problem? Is it clear how we can punish ourselves for all the wrong reasons when it comes to eating and exercise?

By planning a late-afternoon snack, then, you’re making a preemptive strike against ravenous, out-of-control, after-work eating. You’ll be making a conscious choice to attend to your universal right to nourish yourself, thereby short-circuiting the habit of denying yourself food and then devouring it. You’ll also be making a powerful statement that your job doesn’t supersede your health.

And then maybe you’ll get some good sleep, detoxify and re-build your body while you’re dreaming, and wake up feeling truly refreshed and ready to face the world!

I hope this was helpful.

To learn more about us, please go to psychologyofeating.com.

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating offers the most innovative and inspiring professional trainings, public programs, conferences, online events and lots more in the exciting fields of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition! In our premier professional offering – the Eating Psychology Coach Certification Training – you can grow a new career and help your clients in a powerful way with food, body and health. You’ll learn cutting-edge skills and have the confidence to work with the most compelling eating challenges of our times: weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, digestion, fatigue, immunity, mood, and much more. If you’re focused on your own eating and health, the Institute offers a great selection of one-of-a-kind opportunities to take a big leap forward in your relationship with food. We’re proud to be international leaders in online and live educational events designed to create the breakthroughs you want most. Our public programs are powerful, results-oriented, and embrace all of who we are as eaters – body, mind, heart, and soul.

Please email us at info@psychologyofeating.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.

Again, that is psychologyofeating.com.

This is Emily Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Thanks so much for your time and interest.

To learn more about the breakthrough body of work we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, please sign up for our free video training series at ipe.tips. You’ll learn about the cutting-edge principles of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition that have helped millions forever transform their relationship with food, body, and health. Lastly, we want to make sure you’re aware of our two premier offerings. Our Eating Psychology Coach Certification Training is an 8 month distance learning program that you can take from anywhere in the world to launch a new career or to augment an already existing health practice. And Transform Your Relationship with Food is our 8 week online program for anyone looking to take a big leap forward with food and body.

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  • David K

    WOW!!!!!!! So helpful and informative. Thank you Emily!!!!!!!

    Harvey and Marilyn Diamond taught about the cycles of digestion/repair et.al. over 30 years ago. I kind of heard the message, and am now able to more fully assimilate this type of information.

    But, as you know, with so much information out there, it can be somewhat confusing.. On the one hand, the advice that you have to be your OWN Counselor has some clear truth to it/and as I say: “We are each an experiment of one.”

    Some say that you should not eat Breakfast unless you are hungry “at that time”. Others say that breakfast should be your largest meal/others – more Protein and fat with the carbs at dinner/as that is what you body will then assimilate and utilize the following day. That the supposition that it is breakfast that fuels your day is a fallacy as it takes some time to digest and become the fuel to foment repair et.al.

    And others, I am hearing quite a bit about these days, talk about “intermittent Fasting”/consuming all of you food/fuel in a span of like 6 – 8 hours and allowing your body to assimilate, utilize, then repair/detox the rest of the hours in the day. Like the first meal not until 11:00 AM, whether you work out in the AM or not.

    Others say you need to eat something/maybe a shake within 30 minutes of rising; others say is it important/with a morning workout/to eat something within 30 minutes after working out..with a balance of protein/carbs/fat et.al. Some say add protein powder to shakes/others get all that you need from whole foods.

    Some say we are starchitarians, others say that agriculture only came about 10,000 years ago and we haven’t really evolved all that much as yet from our Primate nature and that we are/digestive track design et.al., to get all that we need from plants just as all large mammals do.

    Any thought you may wish to share along these lines would be very much appreciated. As Dr. Bill Harris says that he does, water fasts for two different days a week, and at other times for a few days to clear things out, I am curious to hear about your thoughts on intermittent eating as that seems to be a hot topic. I won’t ask about “Paleo” because that can mean so many different things and feel I have a pretty good sense of what it is “about”. I think some form of fasting has been encouraged over the course of history by most all religions/cultures and has proven beneficial. I find it alright, but also find it challenging to do so. We generally spend a fair bit of time learning and thinking about food/it is not often easy to just pass the day without any.

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  • synrgii

    Excellent info. Wish I had known this like 20 years ago…Unfortunately, I’m underweight and high motabolism and have to eat something before bedtime or else I wake up in the middle of the night with low blood sugar and nightmares. So, I try to eat something small and easily digestable. Fruit is too volatile, but meat is too heavy. Avocados, nuts, olives, or a raw egg or two…things like that work well. Eat too much and always wake up feeling terrible!

  • Sounds like you’re doing a great job of figuring out what works for you! Congratulations on your efforts! Warmly, Emily

  • Hi David – There is plenty of anecdotal and clinical evidence that intermittent eating/fasting is a very healthy and useful strategy. It’s actually a pretty ancient practice. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, but it’s certainly worth experimenting with to see what works best for you.
    Best, Emily

About The Author
Emily Rosen
CEO

Emily Rosen is the Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, where she oversees business development strategies, student affairs, marketing and public relations in addition to her role as Senior Teacher. With an extensive and varied background in nutritional science, counseling, natural foods, the culinary arts, conscious sex education, mind body practices, business management and marketing, Emily brings a unique skill-set to her role at the Institute. She has also been a long-term director and administrator for Weight Loss Camps and Programs serving teens and adults and has held the position of Executive Chef at various retreat centers. Her passion for health and transformation has provided her the opportunity to teach, counsel, manage, and be at the forefront of the new wave of professionals who are changing the way we understand the science and psychology of eating and sexuality. Emily is also co -founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.