No Rest for the Wicked or for the Wicked Busy
Whether you’re burning the midnight oil to cram for a test, you’re enjoying your precious moments of freedom with friends by partying until dawn, or you’re one of those 24 hour-a-day computer programmers (yeah, we don’t sleep) you may find yourself wolfing down high-calorie snacks that give you the fuel needed to power through your fatigue. Unfortunately, this can have a slew of unfortunate side effects, from simple digestive discomfort and heartburn to weight gain and all of the problems associated with it.
If you’ve gotten in the habit of staying up late, eating into the wee hours of the morning may have become routine. However, you can get back on a normal schedule where your diet is concerned and avoid late-night binges without too much trouble so long as you follow a few simple guidelines.
A Strict Sleep Schedule Make for a Healthier Lifestyle
The first thing to consider is not technically related to what you eat, although it does have some bearing on your diet. Perhaps the overall best solution for your problem is to avoid staying up late in the first place. Since most of us don’t eat while we sleep (although sleep eating is not totally unheard of), getting back to a regular schedule with slumber could definitely make a big difference where eating hours are concerned.
This might not sound like the easiest thing to accomplish, but it’s merely a question of time management. In most cases, you won’t have to stay up cramming or working at the last minute if you schedule in work and study time throughout the day, the week, or month. Getting your tasks completed ahead of time will allow to sleep more when it close to the deadline.
Staying up late once in a while is not the end of the world, but when you’re doing it more often than not you’re going to start having problems.
Prepare Ahead of Time with Healthy Snacks
That said, you should also develop a strategy that allows you to temper your terrible eating habits on those rare occasions when you can’t (or won’t) go to bed on time. As the hour grows later you’ll be tempted to chug coffee and snack on high-sugar and high-fat foods to get energized and stay awake. There are a couple of tactics that can help you to avoid these urges so that you’ll be taking sexy pics with your digital camera late-night like the girl on the right, instead of binging on chocolate cake.
For one thing, you can find gentler forms of caffeine, such as green tea, that will offer sustained energy without making you feel jittery and wired. In addition, the types of food you eat can make a big difference.
If you know you’re going to be up late going over information for a test the next day, for example, you can eat healthy and filling foods throughout the day in preparation. Lean meats and whole grains are going to be your go-to foods for these occasions because they offer you slow-burning fuel that will help to keep you full and focused longer.
If you need a little boost, go for natural sugars found in fresh fruit. Don’t forget that eating on a regular schedule is also important.
While you don’t necessarily have to slot in meal times at 8am, noon, and 6pm on the dot, you should definitely try to space out meals and snacks appropriately so that you aren’t dealing with the gnawing hunger that can lead to poor dietary decision. Whether you’re stuck in the dorms, you’re attending a UC online school from home, or you’re on an 80 hour work week, there are ways to avoid late-night eating.
With willpower and a plan you can make the choices that will leave you healthier and happier during your most stressful times at school and at work.