A lot of people are curious to know if they can sleep shortly after eating a meal. Most people think it's bad to go to bed right after you eat. Logically, this makes senses to us. If we have something in our stomach our bodies will have to digest it and make falling asleep next impossible. Also, let's not forget the potential weight gains that come along with late night snacking (is it a myth?).
Well, turns out you're absolutely right for thinking this. Eat your grandma's famous meat and mash potato dish — or even a hard boiled egg — an hour before bed and you will pay the consequences.
That said, it doesn't even have to be a typical dinner meal. The majority of people don't eat a traditional dinner-sized meal and hit the sheets. It's the late night snack addicts that need to worry the most (don't grab those chips!)
For instance, eating too many snacks while watching your favorite movie right before bedtime will definitely hurt your sleep quality (not to mention these habits can lead to unwanted weight gains). Without further ado, let's talk about why you shouldn't eat right before bed.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology confirms that eating small meals just before sleeping does not necessarily lead to weight gains. However, there are other good reasons why you should not sleep immediately after eating a meal.
It is untrue that late night snacks or eating in the evening will cause significant weight gains. This is because evening calories are the same as daytime calories. You only gain weight if your caloric intake is more than your caloric expenditure during the day.
On the other hand, if you eat excess calories before sleep, then you will definitely gain weight.
Generally, it is believed that you will gain weight if you eat late. This is because of the different food types that you may eat before sleeping. Eating high-calorie snacks at night or in the evening leads to body fat increase. Those high-calorie snacks include chips, sweets, or cookies.
According to the ‘Go Ask Alice’ site of Columbia University, you should limit your evening snacks. This includes avoiding large meals too. This way you will diminish your chances of gaining excess weight. The website advises you to eat more small meals throughout the day. This will enable you to avoid hunger right before bedtime.
The time you eat is not that important as compared to the quantity you eat. If you want to lose weight, your caloric intake must be less than your caloric expenditure. No matter when you eat – whether early in the morning or late at night. It is as simple as that.
Eat a Few Hours Before Going to Sleep
According to a famous dietitian, you must eat your last big meal of the day at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. And, if you are awake ‘till late in the night and 4 to 5 hours have passed after you ate your last big meal, then you can have a little snack before bedtime. In such cases, you can eat snacks that digest promptly, like a piece of fruit. You must avoid beverages like alcohol and coffee in the evening (it's hard to do sometimes). They can negatively affect your sleep.
Find out more about sleep and digestion.
Risk of Eating Late
Eating late at night may result in less hunger the next morning. And, if you skip breakfast, you risk to overeat or even eat unhealthy snacks at lunch or later in the evening. When you sleep just after eating a meal, your body is busy digesting your final meal. This can result in various issues, such as indigestion, and a higher risk of a stroke. Also, eating late increases chances of mental exhaustion — this is probably why so many people claim they have nightmares from late night food consumption. Weakened willpower and impaired judgment, can occur as a result. Not to mention the complete exhaustion and lack of energy too — it's one of the worst things you can do if you're body builder.
In conclusion, eating before bedtime can be unhealthy and harmful for you. Although you can eat healthy snacks, you must avoid eating a large meal at least 2 to 3 hours before sleeping. Moreover, you must ensure that your caloric expenditure exceeds your caloric intake. This way you will not gain weight from late evening snacking. And you will also feel much better in the morning too.
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
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