Circadian rhythm — aka your body’s internal clock that governs your sleep and wake schedules — is an integral factor in overall health and well-being, playing a role in everything from when you’re most primed to exercise to when you go to sleep and more. In 2017, researchers studying the topic even won a Nobel Prize for their work.
What’s more, circadian rhythm is intimately tied to diet and weight loss. When we eat and what we eat helps the body understand what time it is, impacts physiology, emotional health and more.
Since humans are normally awake during the day and asleep at night, it makes sense that eating during the day is the best bet. (If you normally eat dinner at 7 p.m. and go to bed at 10 p.m. and suddenly were asked to wake up at 3 a.m. for food, your body would likely feel out of whack.) But everybody (and their circadian rhythm) is slightly different, which means nighttime feeders aren’t necessarily doomed.
Here, experts take sides on how much an impact eating in conjunction with your circadian rhythm has on your health — and what to do if you tend to eat a little later than most.