Nighttime food cravings are often what prevent people from losing weight. No matter how much you try to fill your stomach at dinnertime, when the clock ticks 12, you start craving all kinds of junk foods and are forced to prepare yourself an unhealthy snack in the middle of the night. Well, the next time you have an odd craving at night and want to delve into a slice of chocolate cake, do not blame your stomach, and instead blame your sleep-deprived brain.
Recent research has proven people who are sleep deprived are most likely to fall victim to nighttime food cravings.
Believe it or not, junk food tends to look more appealing to people who haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep. This is because your sleepy brain starts associating junk food with reward and pleasure. So, the sight of junk food would look more appealing to you if you are sleep deprived.
Sleep deprived individuals are more likely to succumb to nighttime food cravings. When your body is tired or fatigued, it looks for a way to feel better, hence your body starts craving calorie dense foods that will give you energy at a much faster rate. In such cases, it is better you opt for healthier snacks when you are feeling sleepy or just go to bed to prevent yourself from wolfing down those unnecessary calories.
Another recent study explained nighttime cravings are a result of the body’s internal clock system, the circadian clock. It explained our cravings for sweets and starchy and salty foods increases during evenings as compared to mornings or at noon, hence the time of eating also plays an important role in craving for unhealthy foods. It has been proven people who tend to eat high-calorie meals during the evening are more likely to gain weight and to become overweight and obese.
Late night snack cravings are a result of the body’s circadian system. This internal clock system in our body works to control the habitual tasks our body performs. It is said our ancestors followed a survival mechanism in which they consumed large meals during the night to they would have enough energy the next day in case they were unable to find food.
Much like how the human body has evolved all these years, the eating habits of man have remained obsolete. It can thus be concluded the circadian system itself causes nighttime food cravings before the fasting period of sleep. Because of this natural tendency of our body, we tend to crave sugary meals at night and often skip breakfast, mimicking the eating habits of our ancestors who once lived on earth. This food pattern has continued for thousands of years and while this research has contributed and proved valuable for the process of evolution, this habitual behavior has led man to obesity and midnight cravings.