You’ve probably heard that sleeping after eating is bad, but why is that? Some claim it will give you nightmares or otherwise disrupt your sleep. Others argue that it will cause you to gain weight because your body will not have time to burn off the calories consumed before bed.
With so much information available, it can be difficult to sort through it and determine what is true and what is a myth.
So, what exactly is the truth? What effect does eating before going to bed have on your health? What effect does it have on your body, metabolism, and overall sleep quality? How long should you wait after eating before falling asleep? And why is that? Let us assist you in determining this!
Is it true that sleeping after eating causes weight gain?
We’ve all heard that eating right before bedtime causes weight gain. In fact, you’ve probably heard it so many times that you believe it to be true. So, guess what? It’s all a myth! Food, not sleep, causes you to gain weight.
Excess caloric intake causes weight gain regardless of when you eat. A calorie eaten during the day is the same as a calorie eaten at night. Excessive food consumption combined with insufficient energy expenditure results in weight gain.
The key to staying healthy and not gaining weight is to balance your food intake with your energy output. It makes no difference what time of day or night you eat.
It only matters how much you eat in relation to how much energy you expend. This is where a common health myth comes into play. It is easy to conclude that if you eat and then go to bed, you have no chance of burning off the calories. The truth is that it does not have to be done in that order.
It is possible for your body to expend the necessary amount of energy before you consume the calories! Going to bed will not cause you to gain weight as long as you use a proportionate amount of energy in comparison to what you eat.
Take care with what you eat.
The issue arises from people’s proclivity to eat before going to bed after they have already eaten a full dinner. Frequently, the food is unhealthy. It’s simply extra calories consumed in excess of a typical daily intake, which can lead to weight gain.
People frequently choose high-fat foods such as ice cream or potato chips because they are quick and easy to prepare. If you’re not careful, this can dramatically increase your calorie intake.
Wait! Is it necessary to forego a late-night snack as a result of this? No. Instead, assist yourself by eating foods that are nutritious, easily digestible, and low in calories.
Different foods, such as whole grains with a little milk, nuts, peanut butter, yoghurt, and fruit, particularly those high in antioxidants like blueberries, can all make an easy alternative if consumed in moderation. These will not have a negative impact on your sleep or weight.
In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain.
Surprisingly, a few recent studies have shown that people who do not get enough rest in general, have sleep apnea, or insomnia may be more prone to gaining weight. Inadequate sleep can cause lower levels of the hormone leptin to be released, making you feel hungry. This is not a good thing if you want to avoid having to purchase a mattress for heavy people!
Higher levels of leptin, on the other hand, give you a sense of fullness. Sleep deprivation may also increase the release of the hormone grehlin, which can make you feel hungry.
This suggests that adequate sleep promotes a healthy lifestyle, which, when combined with healthy and proportionate dietary choices, facilitates weight loss.
Remember, whether you eat during the day or at night, the amount you eat in relation to your activity level is what matters when it comes to gaining weight.
Going to bed after a meal, on the other hand, does not help. It can cause other side effects that are potentially harmful to your health, so it is not routinely recommended.
Eating before going to bed can have a negative impact on your health.
Lying down after eating may cause mild to severe side effects in some people. Because our digestive system works best when we are upright, lying down can cause undue strain and uneven nutrition and food absorption.
Three possible side effects of lying down with a full stomach:
For some people, lying down can aggravate or cause heartburn. It occurs when excess stomach acid travels into your throat or chest, so it stands to reason that lying down would facilitate its spread. Heartburn can be excruciatingly painful, resulting in frequent burping, bad breath, and a bad taste in your mouth.
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a more severe form of heartburn. When the valve between your stomach and oesophagus fails to close properly, stomach acid can leak into your throat, causing a severe burning sensation. If this occurs, additional treatment is required to avoid complications.
A study done by the University of Ioannina Medical School in Greece says that snoozing after eating could make you more likely to have a stroke. In their study, people who waited the longest after eating to sleep were less likely to have a stroke. However, this was a small study with only 500 participants, half of whom had a stroke in their family history. So, before you get too worried, keep in mind that this is an extreme and rare side effect, and the links between dozing off, eating, and having a stroke are still being investigated.
What is the ideal amount of time to wait after eating before lying down?
Now that we’ve debunked the myth of weight gain and discussed the potential negative health consequences, you’re probably wondering how to avoid them. What is the best way to ensure that you get the most rest possible for your health and well-being?
Medical professionals recommend waiting at least two hours after eating before considering lying down. Many people recommend waiting up to four hours to allow for the best digestion conditions possible. The best way to accomplish this is to remain upright.
After a large meal, it is common to feel sleepy because your body is working hard to digest what you have eaten. Blood is redirected from all of your organs, including the brain, to help with digestion.
A lack of blood in the brain can cause sleepiness or drowsiness. However, it is best to resist the urge to sleep and stay upright for at least two hours.
Is there anything else you should avoid doing after you eat?
Some of these may come as a surprise, but there are other activities you should avoid.
Tobacco use should be avoided:
Several studies have found that smoking one cigarette immediately after a snack is equivalent to smoking ten cigarettes.
Drinking tea should be avoided:
Tea’s acidity can cause digestive problems by slowing it down. It can also harden proteins and obstruct iron absorption. It is best to avoid drinking tea for at least an hour before or after eating.
Take a bath or shower as little as possible:
It is recommended that you wait at least 40 minutes after eating before bathing. This is due to the fact that it increases blood flow to your hands and extremities rather than focusing on digestion.
Fruit should be avoided:
Fruit can contribute to bloating. Apples, pears, and bananas should be consumed at least an hour before or after a meal.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself for snacking or eating dinner late. It makes no difference whether you eat during the day or at night. It is acceptable to eat late, especially if you expend a proportionate amount of energy in relation to what you consume. Snoozing does not cause weight gain; excessive eating does. This is especially true for unhealthy foods like ice cream or chips. It is best, however, to wait at least two hours before lying down at night. This is to help your body digest and have a more restful and rewarding night’s sleep.