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Digestion Habits

Breakfast After 8 Hours of Your Last Meal


What is Breakfast?

“Breakfast” literally means to break the fasting period of your previous night’s meal. This means that by eating the first meal of the day, you would be “breaking” your “fast.” So waiting the time after your last night’s meal before eating in the morning gives you the opportunity empty to your stomach and furthers the digestion of any food you had eaten the night before.

Your Digestive Timing and Size of Your Meals

It’s important for you to realize that your body’s digestive function slows down from mid-afternoon to the next morning. You may have heard the old adage, “in the morning eat like a king, in the afternoon eat like a prince, and at night eat like a pauper.” Your body is ready for food in the morning as your day has begun and you will need calories for energy. As the day progresses and you need more food, you eat lunch–but not too much as your body processes will be slowing down as you approach the evening, and eating too much can tax the digestive system, making you lethargic. And for your dinner, it’s best that you eat the lightest as your body is further slowing down and getting ready to go to sleep.

Intermittent Fasting and The Importance of Fasting

A way you may relate to your body’s fasting during your sleeping hours at night is the idea of intermittent fasting, which is gaining in popularity due to its effectiveness. Intermittent fasting, or “IF” allows you to digest any food left in your GI tract and clean yourself out. Intermittent fasting is gaining in popularity due to its effectiveness. It allows you to digest any food left in your GI tract and clean yourself out. It also uses the concept of not eating late at night and eating less at night And this is what all fasting–intermittent or longer–can do for you. By removing the partially digested food matter in your colon, you prevent it from turning toxic, seeping into your bloodstream, and systemically poisoning you. 

So not eating very late at night and not waking in the middle of the night to grab a snack lets your body’s digestive system cleanse every night. Not eating late or night or during the times meant for sleeping then, isn’t a diet but part of your body’s natural eating and digestive pattern. It is part of what is described as a “circadian rhythm” – which is the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

What Your Body Does When You Sleep

Another important aspect of not eating late and or not eating a snack in the middle of the night is that your body doesn’t have to work on having to digest. Actually, when you are sleeping at night your body has shut down and is for the most part in just idling.  So your body is now more ready “to work on recovery, cell turnover, improving immune function and repairing and regenerating sore and damaged muscle tissue, ” according to Michael Ormsbee, director of the Institute of Sports Sciences & Medicine at Florida State University. If you do go for a late-night snack, then wait at least 8 hours before eating your first meal of the day. Waiting at least 8 hours after your last night’s meal before eating in the morning gives you this same opportunity your empty your stomach and furthers the digestion of any food you had eaten up to the night before. It shouldn’t be difficult, as you won’t be so hungry when you awaken.

Digestion and Sleep

Of course, eating too late and or too heavily at night–at a time when your digestive processes have slowed down, puts a much greater burden on your body to digest and interferes with your sleep. The importance of a good’s night sleep to your bodily processes and well-being is fundamental to good health. And if you workout, much of the muscle-building that occurs after you have worked out is during sleep.

Working Late and Eating

Eating less at night may become difficult to do if you routinely work late or are staying up late to do a project. As mentioned, your body is starting to slow down, preparing for sleep. When working late, some of the eating and digesting problems may be that you will more likely be eating when the digestion and other body functions are slowed down, you ate in a rush as you may need to get back to your work, you had too much coffee or other forms of caffeine to stay awake and simply didn’t move your body and burn energy much if you work at a desk job. Also, you need to focus and restrain yourself at work so after you finished with your job at night, you may feel like “cutting loose”  by overeating.

To minimize these problems, try to create and stick to regular eating patterns. If you do snack, eat something healthy. Eat enough to tide you over to the next meal, but don’t make it a make replacement. You meals at work should be well-balanced as any healthy meal that you would eat.

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