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Is it Healthy to Eat Before Bed?

December 06, 2019

Is it Healthy to Eat Before Bed?

Is it Healthy to Eat Before Bed?

Eating before bed or snacking in the middle of the night has had controversy. You have your avid midnight snackers and those who avoid it at all costs. Majority of the population agree that you shouldn’t sleep on a full stomach.

The truth is, this rule of thumb sounds convincing because once a person takes in a food substance, the body automatically has to digest it. This reduces the tendency to fall asleep.

Another huge concern is the potential weight gain that is associated with late-night snacking or large meals prior to bed. It's not far fetched to think that eating before bed can cause weight increase. Still in doubt? Why not have a meat and mashed potato dish some minutes or an hour before you retire for the day, and pay the consequences.

That being said, majority of the time, people allow enough time to digest their last meal of the day before hitting the sheets. It's the late-night snackers that may need to be worried.

So, is it healthy to eat before bed? If you tried eating a good number of snacks while binge-watching your favorite movie before you go to bed. There's every certainty that this will affect the quality of your sleep and can also lead to weight gain.

 

Why you Shouldn't Eat Just Before Going to Bed

You should know that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology affirmed that eating meals right before sleeping does not directly lead to weight gain. Regardless of this observation, there are several important reasons why you should not hit the sheets immediately after eating.

  1. Indigestion and Heartburn
    One reason why you should quit eating right before you sleep is the risk of indigestion. You may experience a combination of indigestion and heartburn if you eat a heavy meal before you retire to bed. Regardless of whether you usually deal with indigestion or not during the day, if you get in bed right after eating and lie horizontally, you may fall victim. Once you position yourself in this manner, there's the likelihood that you will experience acid reflux. This will then cause heartburn and potential difficulty swallowing.
  1. Slower Metabolism at Night
    Now, it's a common belief of many that the body's metabolism takes a slow turn while an individual is asleep. With this logic, anything you take in before going to bed burns off more slowly than it would during the day. Although carbohydrates tend to be in some of the most delicious food, it will take longer to digest while sleeping. Avoid pasta, pizza, and other related foods right before bed.
  1. Increases your Dinner Portion
    We all tend to feel hungrier in the evening. At this time of day, many people are returning from work or class. Because of this, most people tend to have their most substantial portion of food during this time of the day. The disadvantage of this lifestyle is that it can push you to overeat at night, and thus, go to sleep on a fuller stomach.

    Here's how it works. If you're full when you retire for the day, you won't be as interested in having breakfast upon waking. Thereby making you eat smaller breakfast and lunch portions. When it is dinner time, you'll once again be at your hungriest, and you'll consume more calories than recommended. You may even crave snacks after dinner. To avoid this, train your body to consume more calories during the day. Why? Your body has enough time to metabolize and digest the things you take in and you won’t feel the need to eat such a large portion for dinner. 
  1. Encourages Unhealthy Choices.
    Another negative to eating just before going to sleep or sneaking in a midnight raid of the refrigerator is that it teaches you unhealthy food and nutritional choices. Once you form the habit of having a late-night snack, like cookies, chips, or pizza, you develop it, and it becomes a norm. Your body will begin to crave the midnight snacks  and it will be a hard habit to break.

 

Benefits to Eating Before Bed

On the flip side, there may be benefits to eating to eating before bed that could benefit you.

  1. You Could Sleep Better
    Although there's only limited research on this topic, many can attest to the fact that eating before going to bed makes them sleep better. Eating a very late dinner also prevents individuals from waking up hungry in the middle of the night and can prevent the midnight snack urge.
  1. Stabilizes Morning Blood Sugar
    In the early hours of each day, the human liver produces extra glucose (blood sugar). This gives you the energy you need to rise and get the day started. Moreover, a study suggests that having a snack before going to sleep can help prevent changes in blood sugar. They do this by functioning as an extra source of energy.

We all sometimes get a craving here or a munchie there. It is important to understand snacking and munching late in the evening or in the middle of the night may have unwanted consequences. Sure, every now and then we have every right to give into our cravings and indulge! Just be aware of the possible side effects.