Seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is said to be the healthy amount and type of sleep required by an adult. An additional note that goes without saying is that a person who requires a healthy mind and body must go to sleep early and wake up early. However, some people sleep late into the night for a variety of reasons. Let us keep that aside for now and focus on what such people are most likely to do late at night.
Eat! Yes, eating late into the night has become more of a trending routine for adults of the generation. Eating food is a requisite. But eating even the right food at the wrong time can be a killer. Scientists have found that eating late at night can be a reason for diabetes or gaining weight. Let us see if their reasoning has substance.
Is It True?
Although the relationship between eating habits, sleep, and obesity is well established, it is still not truly comprehended. Research has revealed that excessive calorie intake can alter fat tissue and disturb circadian rhythms.
For the first time, a recent study from Northwestern University suggests that energy release may be the chemical process by which our internal clocks regulate energy balance. With this knowledge, researchers discovered that heat is best able to evaporate during the day in the daylight created by the Earth’s rotation. Therefore, it is always best to eat during the day.
This discovery has great implications for the way we perceive sleep loss, excessive eating, and weight gain. It must be understood that they can be related. So, yes it is true. The periodic midnight nibble can be a delightful activity. But, whether we like it or not, doctors and nutritionists strongly disagree with this habit.
When people eat large amounts of food rich in carbs and fat and follow western cafeteria-style diets, the biological clock gets disturbed. The clock is time-sensitive and can only function properly in broad daylight. Dr. Joseph T. Bass who is a Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine says that they do not know the exact reason behind this peculiarity.
The Study and the Observations
Mice, which are nocturnal animals, were served a high-fat diet either just during their passive (light) time or during their active (dark) period throughout the duration of the experiment. The mice who were fed during the daytime gained noticeably higher weight than the mice that were fed throughout the night after observing for just one week. Additionally, the researchers made sure to set the temperature at 30, which is the point at which mice use the least energy. This was a precaution to prevent the temperature from affecting their experiment.
Researchers studied the breakdown of fatty tissue to examine if the same changes occurred within the endocrine organ after noticing a rise in energy expenditure. In fact, the exact outcomes were seen, and mice with genetically increased thermogenesis the release of heat through fat cells—did not develop weight gain and had better health.
Dr. Chelsea Hepler who works as a postdoctoral fellow at the Bass Lab observed that creatine present in the fat tissue could be the reason for the heat release and the mechanism associated with it. The scientific foundation for this observation had been made twenty years ago by Dr. Bass and his colleagues. Ever since their identification of the relationship between molecular clock and obesity, the challenge had been to identify the cause behind it. The latest discovery is a huge win in that regard.