Get your Brain Health Score (in 4 mins) Take the quiz

ReviewsCommunity
My account
Nutrition

Chrononutrition: why when you eat matters

In this Braincare session we explore why meal timing matters, and how it affects you mentally and physically.

Heights
Heights
April 25, 2021
4 min read

It’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s not just what you eat that matters, but when as well. In recent years, a growing body of research shows that the timing of our meals has an impact on our physical and mental performance, as well as our metabolic health—which is our ability to break down, digest, and metabolise food. 

This area of research coined the term “chrononutrition”, which looks at the interaction between your body’s circadian system and nutrition, and how that might be affecting you both mentally and physically. 

Chrononutrition basics—what’s a chronotype?

Believe it or not, there’s actually a reason why you’re either a morning lark or a night owl. A biological clock inside your head determines when you sleep, and what times you're most productive. 

Tick-tock, tick-tock. 

This internal clock is affected by light and darkness, and impacts your appetite, sleep, and hormones. This time-of-day preference also means that you may not be hungry at a time when other people are eating—a factor that would result in you behaviourally timing your meals. Your chronotype is genetically determined and is a behavioural expression of an underlying preference that you have.

There are 3 chronotypes: 

  1. Morning type

  2. Evening type

  3. Neither

Get your quality sleep tips

When you sign up, you’ll also get weekly braincare emails with ideas on how to look after your most important organ.

Some research splits chronotypes into four types naming them: 

1. Bear

Most people have a bear chronotype, where their sleep and wake cycle follows the sun. Bear chronotypes wake and sleep easily. Productivity is best before noon, and decreases between 2 pm and 4 pm. 

2. Wolf 

Wolf chronotypes struggle to wake up in the morning. They feel more energetic when they wake at noon, where their peak productivity begins and then ends at 4 pm. They generally get another burst of energy at 6 pm. 

3. Lion 

Lion chronotypes wake early in the morning before the sun rises. Productivity is best between when they wake up until 4 pm. They generally sleep by 9 pm-10 pm. 

4. Dolphin

Dolphin chronotypes struggle to follow any sleep schedule. They are most productive between 10 am-2 pm. 

Knowing your chronotype helps you understand your sleep cycles, when you’re most productive, as well as give you insight into your eating habits. 

The high-quality natural sleep supplement, with 20 nutrients to improve the quality of your sleep and help you feel rejuvenated every day.

Learn more

Why meal timing is important

In the past, our ancestors would eat in the morning, and be asleep during the evening. 

In modern Western societies, however, there seems to have been a pattern of behavioral shift where people sleep later, thereby delaying their first meal to later in the day. As it turns out, this change in eating patterns may not be good for metabolic health over the long term.

Meal timing is important as it affects the distribution of energy, blood glucose levels, and insulin responses. Most chrononutrition literature supports the idea that your general capacity to regulate blood glucose levels and have appropriate insulin responses to meals is impaired in the evening. This means that eating irregularly and later in the day is potentially associated with obesity, weight gain, and other health issues.  

Being aware of your eating and sleeping habits will allow you to time your meals in order to support optimal metabolism and reduce health risks. 

Top tips 

  • Try to align your daily routine with your time-of-day preference.

  • Literature suggests that eating past 9 pm will cause you to suffer metabolically. You cannot process fats or carbohydrates as effectively past 9 pm, so try eating earlier. 

  • Reduce the amount of food you’re consuming in the evening, and be conscious of the fact that your ability to metabolise food is impacted. 

  • Although we try to conform to social pressures by eating and sleeping at particular times, ultimately we’re all different, and we need to find our optimum and work towards that as much as we can. 

Get your Brain Health Score in 4 minutes

0

Heights Smart Supplement contains the highest quality plant-based omega 3 DHA, EPA, along with 18 other key nutrients your brain needs to thrive according to science in just 2 capsules a day.

Related articles
Heights HQ
99% of us don’t get the nutrition our brain and body need from diet alone
Sophie Medlin
4 min read

About Heights

  • Our Mission
  • Experts
  • Blog
  • Student discount
  • Refer a friend
  • Careers
  • Braincare Podcast
  • Sustainability

This product is not designed to replace a varied and balanced diet. Do not exceed stated dose. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication, please consult your doctor before use. Do not use it if the sachet has been opened. Store in a cool, dry place. Keep out of reach of children.

My cart
No products in your cart
Subtotal
£0.00
Shipping to United Kingdom
Free
Total
£0.00
Discount codes can be added at checkout