Does eating before bed affect sleep?

Some experts argue that eating before bed has more pros than cons and can actually be beneficial to your health. We tend to hear a lot about how unhealthy it is to eat before bed, especially if we’re trying to diet. However, research shows that it’s not always bad, and it can depend on your lifestyle choices. Read on to find out more..


Pro’s of eating before bed

Weight Loss vs. Gain

Many experts say that eating before bed can actually promote weight loss, depending on the food you choose to eat. Your body actually needs energy when you sleep. A protein-rich snack will help your body continue to burn fat while you’re asleep and can keep your blood sugar stable, letting you get more restful sleep. A snack that is high in protein will give your body the fuel it needs to function properly while you sleep and help promote weight loss.

Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better

Some experts correlate eating at night with better sleep. They argue that if you eat something before you go to sleep, your stomach feels full and you may fall asleep faster and sleep longer Plus, you won’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night.

However, choosing wisely what you eat before sleep is crucial. Your nighttime meal or snack should have some nutritional value. Try an apple with peanut or almond butter or a piece of avocado toast as a tasty, healthy late-night snack which is rich in protein.

Curb Cravings

For people who are comforted by food, specifically by a bedtime snack, having a small, planned snack about an hour and a half after dinner can help curb unplanned snacking later in the night. Plus, if you eat a little more at night, you won’t wake up as hungry in the morning and therefore, you’ll eat less during the day, decreasing your daily calorie intake.

Cons of Eating Before Bed

Your Metabolism Works Slower at Night

Many argue that your body’s metabolism slows slightly while you’re asleep, so anything you eat before bed is burned off more slowly (although many experts argue that your metabolism is just as active while you sleep). This is especially true of carbs. While you’re asleep, your body won’t burn off carbs like it does when you’re active and awake.

Indigestion and Heartburn

If you eat a big meal before bed, you may experience indigestion or heartburn. Eating a large meal and then immediately get in bed, laying horizontally could cause acid reflux, symptoms of which include heartburn, trouble swallowing and nighttime asthma. Experts recommend spacing meals or snacking and bedtime so that your body has time to digest first.

Meal Sizes at Dinner

The evening is the time of day when many people are the hungriest, so they get in the habit of eating their biggest meal in the evening. This can start the cycle of eating too much at night (and over eating in general). If you can train your body to consume the most calories earlier in the day, your body has more time to digest and metabolise them.

Making Unhealthy Choices

Another con to nighttime meals or snacks is food choice. Many people reach for something unhealthy as a late-night snack, like foods high in sugar and fat. This can also lead to binge eating, which can make you go to bed and wake up feeling sluggish. Choosing something high in protein is better for aiding sleep and to curb late-night hunger.