My husband works a swing shift. Does the digestive system work on the same internal clock that the body has?

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My husband works a swing shift and has dinner/lunch at 7:00 P.M. and is home at 11:30 P.M. So his schedule is not the normal time. Family and friends say that he should not eat late at night because the body stops digesting food at 7:00 P.M. Does the digestive system work on the same internal clock that the body has?

People should eat meals based on their wake/sleep cycle. If your husband works 3 to 11, then his dinner may be eaten after 11 P.M. assuming he stays up for another 4 hours. If he goes to bed shortly after arriving home at 11:30 P.M., then his 7 P.M. or noon meal should be his dinner. Your husband should eat two other meals before he goes to work, one after waking up and one before he goes to work.

There is nothing magical about stopping eating before 7 P.M. because it’s the calories you eat minus the calories you expend in activities that determines your weight. That said people who eat after their evening meal can consume excess calories that lead to weight gain. If you eat after your evening meal, you should ask yourself whether you are truly hungry or just bored and sleepy. Late night eating is associated with higher calories, salt, and sugar foods. People who suffer from gastric reflux disease (GERD) after laying down to sleep should sit or stand rather than lay down for 2 hours after eating. Night eating can be associated with mild depression, low-self esteem, reduced daytime hunger and less weight loss in people who are already obese. People who eat breakfast are less likely to eat at night.

Your body digests any food eaten whenever it is eaten. When food enters your mouth, digestive enzymes are stimulated in your mouth and stomach. It doesn’t matter what time you eat even the smell of food stimulates the production of digestive juices in your mouth. Can you imagine what would happen if your body stopped digesting food? You could get seriously plugged up.