Eat, Sleep or Fast?

There is a time for digestion, and there is a time for sleep.

We have discovered that just like our brain, almost every organ has its own clock. Your stomach, your liver, your brain…every organ in your body has times when they perform certain functions. Digesting food when your digestive system is supposed to be inactive can cause reflux and throw off your circadian rhythm, which can then disrupt your sleep stages creating brain fog and lethargy the next day. Our digestive system starts to slow down after around 7pm so it makes sense to finish eating before then to allow optimum digestion. The digestive system needs time to clear away after the day’s work and clean down ready for the start of the next day.

The habit of eating snacks late at night can affect your sleep and create weight gain...... We know that snacking late at night isn’t a good idea, but until recently, there was little research into what health benefits we could gain from avoiding it.

Professor Satchin Panda, showed that restricting our eating to within an 8-10 hour window helps protect us from obesity, type-2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease! Professor Panda and his team have devised an app that was able to track the behaviour of moderately unhealthy people and it found that when they ate within a 10 hour window, they were able to lose 4-5% of their body weight within 16 weeks. This study group was also able to maintain their weight loss over the following year. The participants felt more energetic, slept better and had no acid reflux or heart burn. So far, studies across the world have identified benefits for metabolic disease and even, in some cases, inflammatory disease. Eating within an 8-10 hour window is one of the simplest, yet most effective interventions for our health and is achievable for almost all of us. If you haven't already, give this some serious thought. In certain cases this may not be wise so always listen to the signals from your own unique body or ask for advice.

To make time-restricted eating successful, eating nutritious, satisfying, and delicious food is also key. This will ensure that your body has a plentiful supply of nutrients to boost the repair pathways that a good overnight fast triggers, and will help you to feel fuller for longer. In addition to this, a diet rich in a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit, together with probiotics and fermented foods will optimise your gut health and powerfully enhance your mood and vitality.

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