Does Eating Before Bed Ruin Your Beauty Sleep?
In recent years, there's been a growing consensus of medical advice trying to get people to accept one very simple, essential truth for optimal health and wellness: do not eat right before bed. Unfortunately, this can be really hard for some people to do. It's unpleasant to try and fall asleep when your stomach is growling and you're fighting off strong food cravings. Not to mention that when people go out and socialize - which is almost always at night, with the exception of weekend brunch - food and alcohol abound.
But what if we told you that, in addition to ruining your overall health and your waistline, eating right before bed was ruining your beauty sleep? Whether you're looking for one more reason to help push you over the edge into the "no food before sleep" camp, or whether you're a chronic nighttime snacker who's reading this to torture themselves, we hope you'll learn a lot from reading this article. It may even help you change your eating habits for the better!
Eating Before Bed Limits Cellular Autophagy - or Eliminates it Altogether
This concept might go a little bit beyond what you learned in your high school biology class, so bear with us while we dole out the full explanation. You see, when the body is slightly stressed, it takes certain steps in order to strengthen its own natural resistances to the minor amounts of wear and tear we face on a daily basis. One of those steps that your body takes is a process called "autophagy".
Autophagy can be triggered by many things. One of the strongest triggers is fasting. When your body is in a fasted state and does not have the sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids it needs to repair damaged cells and make fresh, healthy ones, it performs its own form of cellular triage. It takes the weakest, oldest, most damaged cells and breaks them down into their most basic components. This frees up a new, fresh supply sugars, proteins, and fatty acids which are necessary for cellular growth and replenishment.
"But what does all that have to do with helping me get rid of wrinkles?" You might be asking. And that's a very good question! Because the answer is: everything. Wrinkles are the result of old, damaged skin cells gathering together in concentrated areas. If you're constantly eating, and you're never in a fasted state, your body never goes into autophagy. And if your body never goes into autophagy, it never has a chance to get rid of the old, damaged skin cells that flock to one another and make your skin look wrinkly and old.
But if you do manage to stop eating several hours before bed, your body will go into a fasted state while you sleep. And you won't have to deal with any of the unpleasant side effects of feeling hungry, because you'll get to sleep right through it! Best of all, while you sleep, the autophagy will wipe away and recycle all of the damaged skin cells that are contributing to your wrinkles, and use their spare parts to build new, fresh, healthy skin cells which will plump up your skin and leave you looking fresh-faced in the morning.
Speaking of things that cause wrinkles, let's take a minute to talk about inflammation. When you eat late at night, and go to bed soon after, there's another unhealthy biological process that happens in your body. It goes a little something like this:
- Your blood sugar rises
- Your pancreas releases insulin
- When there is too much insulin released, your blood sugar crashes
- That crash triggers alarm bells in your body
- Those alarm bells trigger the adrenals to release more cortisol
- Cortisol, the stress hormone, causes all sorts of unhealthy inflammatory reactions all over your body
As medical science is beginning to figure out, excessive and unhealthy inflammation is the root of most disease in the modern world today. So anything you can do to reduce inflammation - which, in this case, means not eating before bed - will help you cultivate a higher level of physical health and overall wellness.
You may have noticed that in the section above, we mention the adrenal glands. Specifically, we mentioned adrenal fatigue. These little glands, which live at home on the top of your kidneys, work a lot harder and do a lot more for your body than people give them credit for. But when they get stressed out too often, you may start to suffer from adrenal fatigue. When you're in a state of adrenal fatigue, you may feel tired all the time, you may gain weight, and you might wake up with dark circles under your eyes - or worse.
If the condition becomes extremely severe, you may even end up with secondary hypothyroidism. Secondary hypothyroidism is when your thyroid stops functioning as efficiently as your body needs it to, but there isn't anything wrong with the thyroid itself; rather, the strain on your adrenal glands indirectly inhibits normal, healthy thyroid function. And if your secondary hypothyroidism gets misdiagnosed - which, unfortunately, is all too common - you may end up receiving medical treatment for your condition which either does nothing to cure you, or makes your situation even more unhealthy than it already is.
Stop Eating Before Bed - and Start Doing This
So if you're ready to stop eating before bed, good for you! But there's one more step you can take to help end the vicious cycle of cortisol production, inflammation, and adrenal fatigue. You can take a natural, herbal sleep aid before bed that contains melatonin, like Avinol PM.
Melatonin and cortisol had a yin-yang relationship. They balance each other out. When you have a lot of melatonin in your body, which usually happens at night when lights are low and you are ready to go to sleep, it prevents your body from producing excessive and unhealthy amounts of cortisol. This helps you stay relaxed and get a sound, restorative sleep throughout the night. When you wake up the next morning, you won't just have a fresh, youthful glow staring back at you in the mirror (thanks to autophagy), but you'll have the pep in your step you need to start your day off right.