We've been told that we can't eat after 5pm or 8 pm, and definitely not before bed. We've been scared into thinking that if you eat before bed all of the calories we eat will be stored as fat since we will not be moving around burning them off. And if you eat carbs before bed you're gonna gain 20 pounds overnight.
That's a lie and a false assumption that you don't burn calories at rest.
When you sleep you burn about the same amount of calories as when you watch TV, but that's beside the point. The point is that when you restrict your eating to before a certain time what you're really doing is restricting and reducing you calories for the day. This is the real reason you lose weight when if you don't eat after these so called magic hours.
There was a study done that had two groups, all members of both groups had a BMI of over 30. Both groups where given the same numbers of calories in a day and the macronutrient breakdown (carbs, protein, and fat) were all equal. The first group ate carbs throughout the day and the other group ate most of their carbs at night.
The group that ate most of their carbs at night lost more weight than the group who ate carbs throughout the day. This could be because of a hormonal influence that eating a reduced amount of carbs early and an increased amount late has on the body.
Here's what matters: restricting your eating to a certain time frame is a good way to reduce your calorie intake for a given day. It’s worth noting that you could also delay the time that you start eating in a day, aka delaying breakfast (collective gasp). When you limit your eating to a certain time your are likely decreasing your total daily calories, this is the real reason you lose weight. Also, it helps to eat most of your carbs during the later part of your day.
You can eat whenever you like but it’s best to spend as much time as you can in a day without eating, this can and should include sleeping (not eating a certain amount of time before you sleep or after you wake). And if you can, save more of your carbs for your last meal of the day, and after workouts.