Healthy Tips Every Night Owl Should Know To Stay In Great Shape


Staying up late can wreak havoc on your health. It can also affect your diet because staying way past sunset often causes you to have high-calorie cravings. There are pitfalls when it comes to a different sleeping schedule.

In fact, in a 2018 international review study published in Advances in Nutrition, night owls don’t eat as much fruits and vegetables. They oftentimes consume more calories from alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat. Their early bird counterparts, on the other hand, tend to get more of the good stuff in their system.

Poor eating habits can lead to obesity. You’re also more prone to diseases and chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

As easy as it is to preach about going to bed early and getting up when the sun rises, this is not always a realistic option for many, be it because of choice or because of work.


A Few Tips to Consider

At this point, you can do something about health and nutrition by considering the following:

  1. Are you hungry or are you eating simply because you’re bored? Some folks eat out of boredom. Think about this the next time you decide to go for snacks.
  2. Fill your body with protein and with foods rich in fiber. If you really need to nosh on something, go for those packed with protein and fiber. You can curb hunger better when your stomach is filled with these.
  3. Get enough zzzs. Studies have shown a strong connection between sleep deprivation and obesity. Get the shut-eye you need by scheduling properly.
  4. Plan your meals properly. It’s all about creating a balanced diet that’s packed with nutritious meals. You’ll see how you have more energy for active endeavors. You’ll also lower your chances of falling victim to a late-night cupboard and fridge raid that often leads to poor choices.
  5. Turn off the TV and make sure to set aside your phone. Eating while watching something, playing a game, or simply doing the death scroll through your social media accounts lead to eating needlessly. The bed is for resting and the other activities are reserved for when you’re outside your room.


Snacks that Enhance and Promote Quality Sleep

Shift work disorder is a condition in which your circadian rhythm is thrown off balance. This is often brought about by working during the night. This disorder, as mentioned earlier, is linked to a variety of diseases.

However, if you work during odd hours, there are just some things that can’t be avoided. Be the pioneer when it comes to safeguarding your health. When it’s time to sleep, make sure you get a good one. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet at all times. More importantly, limit caffeine intake when you know that you’re about to end your work shift. While it’s always easy to say that there are other treatment options available, the natural method is always better. Over-the-counter or prescribed medications such melatonin and light therapy may help, but some have become so dependent on these that their bodies could no longer rest without it. That’s simply not the way to live. Health is closely tied to the number of hours of rest you get.

You may also think about certain snacks that are good for sleeping. Here are some of what the experts recommend:

  1. Cottage Cheese – This is a lean source of protein. It’s also packed with tryptophan, an amino acid vital to the production of serotonin. And as doctors say, serotonin is an important brain chemical that’s associated with feelings of wellbeing. People without enough of this chemical often suffer from insomnia and depression.
  2. Fruits – These are also great sources of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Look into buying whole tart cherries, tart cherry juice, bananas, pineapples, kiwis, and oranges, as these are abundant with melatonin.
  3. Nuts – Almonds and walnuts, specifically, are also great sources of melatonin. As a bonus, nuts are extremely rich in protein and heart-healthy fats, things that are good for you.


Rules that Night Owls Need to Follow

While you may want to go to bed early and rise at the crack of dawn, that sort of lifestyle isn’t just an option for you at this point in your life. Not to worry because you can still reclaim your health and enjoy a good life as long as you follow some rules.

Rule #1: Get the Right Amount of Sleep

Some people get by with just five hours of sleep, while others need eight hours or more. Then, when you read up on different tips, you’ll also get a variety of answers. Just know what’s enough for your body and what amount provides you with the energy you need to last a full day. This is the golden rule for everyone. Some health issues tied to having a sleep schedule that’s out of whack. This means that if you don’t stick to a schedule, get ready to face a variety of health problems. You’ll be at higher risk for a lot because you’re hunger hormones are all over the place. This means that without rest, get ready for higher inflammation levels, poor judgment skills, and lack of energy. Minimize your risk by getting the rest your body requires, and there are no ifs and buts about this. See if you can adjust your work schedule so that your body gets used to it. Don’t hesitant to get a few catnaps in as well. These do a lot when it comes to recharging lost energy.

Rule #2: Expose Yourself to Bright Light as Soon as You Wake

When you’re late to bed, you can also expect to get up later than the rest. Chances are, you’re probably not getting the sunlight you need. If you haven’t been getting the Vitamin D you need from the sun, your mood may get affected. That’s because light is a powerful mood influencer. Dr. Michael Grandner, PhD, assistant professor and director of the Sleep and Health Research Program and the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at the University of Arizona says, “You’re basically giving yourself Seasonal Affective Disorder.” Therefore, people who are predisposed to late bedtimes may also be more susceptible to suffering from depression. The best way to avoid this is to get bright light as soon as you wake up. You may want to invest on light boxes that mimic the superbright morning sunlight. These will do the job, but nothing beats the natural means. Schedule around 20 to 30 minutes of your time to walk outside for bright light. As experts also claim, a dose of light first thing when you wake helps move your bedtime up. This is something to take note of if fixing your bedtime schedule is a possibility and is something you’ve been considering. Grandner recommends to his patients to combine light as early as possible with minimal artificial light at night to break the routine. And if you do suffer from depression, always seek professional help.

Rule #3: Watch the Late-Night Noshing

Both Grandner and Pelayo have studied patients who sleep late and say that the night owls do tend to eat more just because they’re up later than others. While there is no specific time to cut off eating, it does help to avoid large meals just a few hours before sleeping. The better option for those hunger pangs would be to eat only snacks. The study also shows that women who were night owls were more than twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome. This means that the women suffer from excess belly fat, high blood sugar and overall unhealthy fat levels.

Rule #4: Find Time for a Workout

Evidence from a variety of studies shows that night owls are at higher risk of cardiovascular issues. Grandner points out the possibility of having a sleep schedule that’s out of sync with the natural light-dark cycle of the day can put stress on your system. One way to counteract this is to make sure to exercise consistently. This has been proven to be effective in well-documented studies. Just be mindful about when you do it because Grandner says, “Night owls tend to perform better physically in the afternoon or evening, but a very intense workout very late at night could keep you up even later.” Just because you’re available to go to the gym at midnight doesn’t necessarily mean that you do it. If you go for intense exercise over the less intensive ones, experiment with your schedule. Get one that gives you a boost of energy for work, but not so late that it pushes your bedtime back even further.

Rule #5: Make Time to Spend with friends and Family

Grandner also believes that night owls don’t socially interact with the others as much, especially if they keep odd working hours or work remotely. Their difference in sleep schedule is the culprit behind this. “They tend to be more isolated,” he says. Experts from research say that loneliness can have serious effects on health. Being alone also increases your risk of death by about 45 percent, which is extremely high. So, try making regular lunch dates with friends on your days off. Also, find a social group that meets your schedule. There are plenty out there for you. And if you work from home, take your laptop to a communal workspace nearby to allow you some exposure to the outside world.

Rule #6: Go to Bed When You Start to Feel Tired and not Before

This rule actually applies to both night owls and to larks. This is especially crucial if you have an important schedule set when you wake up, such as a flight or an early meeting. Trying to fall asleep when you’re still awake is fuel to insomnia. That’s because you’re more pressured to get some shut eye as soon as possible. Your body and brain will associate the bed itself with being awake instead. Hence, when you do feel the need to lie down, go to bed, dim the lights (ceiling lights, side table lamps, and gadgets). Then, allow yourself to naturally drift off when you’re ready.


Rule #7: Swap Caffeine for Water

While it’s easy to say that caffeine helps you stay up, water is the secret to fighting fatigue and increasing focus and concentration. Energy drinks, sugar, and coffee have a rebound effect. This means that you crush after you explode. You do get the boost of energy you need at first, and then find yourself losing it all after a while. If you want to stay in you’re A game and keep your health, there’s no better substitute for the good ol’ H2O.