Q: I struggle to sleep well at night and when I mentioned it to a friend, she said it could make me gain weight and lead to health issues. Is that true?

A: Humans have a biological clock which is in sync with the sun and the moon. It’s called the circadian rythm. Our body produces melatonin, the sleep hormone, after sunset and late evening.

Our deepest sleep is around 2am-4am and the body temperature is low at this time, enabling the system to rest well.

With sunrise, blood pressure and body temperature rise, preparing our body to wake up. Melatonin production goes down, while adrenaline, testosterone and cortisol go up making you feel more alert and fresh.

Planning activities according to your circadian rhythm will ensure that the cells work optimally resulting in better energy, alertness, concentration, and endurance.

By not following the internal clock, you are disturbing the basic functions of the body, including metabolism, mood, blood sugar levels. As the metabolic hormones are released between morning and early evening, eating late night or at odd hours would lead to weight gain.

Our gastrointestinal tract is more active during the day time and that is why planning to have your meals between morning to early evening will help in better digestion, absorption and metabolism of nutrients.

When we eat late at night (the time our body prepares itself to rest or sleep), the metabolism is compromised, which can lead to elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and/or sugars. If eating at odd hours is a part of your lifestyle, you are susceptible to metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis.

Setting your daily routine in coordination with the biological clock is like putting things in place. You will observe many positive changes in your energy level, metabolism, stamina, vigilance and your blood parameters too.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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