Detoxify While Dreaming
My stomach and I like our beauty sleep. The following day is so much more enjoyable and productive after a restful night. If we time our meals with some degree of consciousness, our sleep benefits are magnified. No really. Read on.
As we slumber the body shifts its forces towards completing the processes of digestion, absorption and assimilation and then moving into detoxification, repair and growth. Approximately eight hours after eating our last bite the full digestion is completed and the detoxification mode begins. A healthy body, used to eating good Cookus Interruptus food, requires about a four hour process of cleansing and detoxifying all the waste products of normal metabolism. So if my last bite is at 7pm, I don’t eat anything before 7am. That way my gut gets 8 hours to finish processing the food of the day and 4 hours to clean house. Neat.
If you go to bed on a full stomach, your body is busy digesting all night instead of falling deeply into the land of dreams. I find I sleep better if my last bite of food is at least a couple of hours before I hit the pillow. Timing is everything. As Marc David writes in The Slow Down Diet, “Sumo wrestlers have known for centuries that large meals eaten late at night give them the physical advantage they covet most – flab.” We burn calories less efficiently in the evening hours when our metabolism is at low tide. Evening is not the best time for the heaviest meal or richest dessert of the day. The metabolic fires are slowing down not revving up.
So one of the positive food practices I employ is giving my gut a rest for 12 hours during every 24 hour cycle. I think I heard about this on Oprah. Typically I don’t eat after 7pm and enjoy Steel Cut Oats or Be Bop Breakfast around 7am the next morning. Though I absolutely have been known to break the late night eating rule on the weekends I still maintain the 12 hour thing. If I wined and cheesed at 11pm I’m smiling at 11am brunch the next morning.
I prefer these natural rhythmic practices to maintaining a healthy weight and strong energy to the negative messages amplified by the no-no’s of food restriction.
Try it. See if you don’t feel better the next day. Are a little hungrier for a good breakfast. Experience a little more bounce.