I would have stopped bedtime snacks decades ago. Relaxing before bed with food, has more effect on your weight than you may realize.
Bedtime Snacks Affect Children and Adults Differently
How the human body processes food changes as we become adults. A simple milk and crackers before bed for a child can be lovely. The same snack for an adult can cause unexpected weight issues.
Children produce a growth hormone throughout a 24-hour period because, well, they are growing! However, adults only produce the growth hormone when they are asleep.
Growth hormone supports your bone and muscle health. A bedtime snack stops the production of that hormone and that creates a loss of muscle mass and a reduction in bone building. Both are major issues in our society as we age. These are also health issues that affect people with eating disorders or disordered eating of any kind.
Eating a bedtime snack, actually eating two or three hours before going to sleep, tells the pancreas to produce insulin to deal with the increase in blood sugar. The insulin inhibits the nocturnal burst of growth hormone. So we weaken our muscles and bones by eating bedtime snacks.
Good news: Now that I know this I don't have bedtime snacks. I sleep better and am stronger. Perhaps this information will influence your nighttime snacking too.
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Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.
She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder
Appointments are virtual.
For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at