Ever eat a lot of food at night, then get really hot in the middle of the night or next morning?

More than once I’ve had the experience of eating quite a bit of food at night, only to awaken in the middle of the night feeling overheated, or, if not, then awakening the following morning hot—despite a normal room temperature.

These were not hot flashes; just a hot feeling. Intuitively I knew it was because all that extra food made my body work extra hard to digest it—work generates heat.

“Though not a complaint by everyone, the answer to why some individuals experience an increased sensation of heat, after an evening food binge, can be explained, at least to some degree, by the fact that the processing, breakdown and utilization of food, is an energy expending process of the body,” explains Richard Kelley, MD, a practicing physician in Texas for 20+ years, and author of “The Fitness Response,” “The Three-Hour Appetite” and the ebook, “The Fitness Response ‘Diet’ for Women.”

Dr. Kelley continues, “In fact, it is estimated that the processing, breakdown and utilization of ingested food, accounts for approximately 10 percent of the body’s daily energy expenditure.

“This is actually a calorie burning process of the body and can also result in thermogenesis or the generation of heat, by the body.

“The reason that some individuals report more awareness of this phenomenon, while other individuals are less aware of the increase in heat, is not entirely clear.”

Eating a lot causes the body to burn more calories = more heat generated.

If you binge at night, a feeling of heat will be more noticeable because the thermogenesis occurs while you’re lying in bed.

If the generation of heat occurs mid-day, after a morning binge, you’re less likely to be aware of feeling hot, since you’re already active; or, you may feel hot but think nothing of it if you’re concurrently moving about busily.

Dr. Kelley continues, “For an individual who engages in a true binge or excessive caloric intake at one sitting, the body is literally going into overdrive, metabolically speaking, to break down and store the excess of calories.

“That some individuals are sensitive to the fact that metabolism, along with thermogenesis, is increasing as a result of the binge, is not surprising, given that we know the body literally has to get to work anytime we put food into the stomach, and this is certainly the case when we overfeed ourselves.”

Next time you binge at night and then several hours later feel hot, you now know why.

Dr. Kelley is a fitness enthusiast who is passionate about helping men and women lose weight with his program.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.