Is Eating Before Sleeping Good or Bad for You?
With hectic schedules, most of us have dinner close to bedtime. It has almost become the new norm. But if you rewind a little, you may remember how the elders of the house would always refrain us from eating anything close to bedtime. Well, they knew what they were talking about! Eating before sleeping can mess up your metabolism and also hamper your blood sugar levels. So, what foods to eat before bed? how long before bed should you stop eating? Read all about it in the article below.
Is It Bad To Eat Before Bed?
Is it bad to eat before bed? The answer is yes. Eating right before bed can hamper your circadian rhythm. When you wake up in the morning, your body is sensitive to insulin to help fuel it and get us moving.
However, there is insulin resistance at night. And when you pick a late-night snack or eat close to bedtime, the food is stored as fat and isn’t burned. Also, the late-night cravings are not very healthy, aren’t they? At least in most cases! Chips, desserts, and ice creams are what satiates the soul at night. But sometimes, it can lead to mindless or binge eating.
Potential Benefits of Eating Before Bed
It is established that eating late at night may not be the best choice. But, are there any potential benefits to eating late at night? Let’s find out.
Can Enhance Overnight Muscle Synthesis
We have all heard why eating before bed is bad as it can lead to weight gain. However, eating before sleeping may not be so bad after all. According to a study, bedtime snacks were beneficial for men as they helped synthesize the muscles in their sleep. But it was recommended that you limit the nighttime meals to 150 calories.
However, another study published in December 2017 showed that 40 grams of protein may be an ideal nighttime snack and this is more than 150 calories. So, you can limit your protein intake to 150 calories and see if it works out for you.
Can Benefit Your Morning Metabolism
If you are looking to lose weight or worried about gaining any weight, you must pay attention to your metabolism. It is an essential process that helps convert food into energy. The food gets stored as fat when your metabolism becomes faulty or doesn’t do its best.
The same study mentioned above showed that healthy men and women suffering from obesity benefited by consuming a bedtime snack as it helped the metabolism get to work first thing in the morning.
Some Foods Can Be Beneficial For Sleep
Some foods can be considered as sleep aid to help you enjoy a deep slumber. According to a study, melatonin levels of a few foods were studied, and it was seen that foods like nuts could supply you with a good amount of melatonin. Why does this work? Because melatonin is a sleep hormone.
Health Risks of Eating Before Bed
Now that you know a few effects of eating before bed, let’s look at why you shouldn’t eat before bed.
What You Eat Affects Your Sleep
Eating before bed is correlated to your sleep. For instance, consuming fatty or spicy food can make digestion hard. And going through indigestion makes it harder for you to relax and keep your body at ease.
Acid Reflux and Heartburn
According to a study, it was found that noshing approximately three hours before bedtime was linked to developing the symptoms of acid reflux. It can lead to other conditions, such as heartburn and indigestion.
One 2013 study had 420 participants who were obese or overweight. They had enrolled in a five-month weight loss program. Here, people who were late eaters lost significantly less weight.
What To Eat Before Bed
Let’s take a look at some of the best foods to have before bed instead of going to bed hungry.
One of the best nuts for your health has to be almonds. Most of us know how consuming it with your breakfast can be good for you, but it is a great late-night snack too. An ounce of almonds can offer 25% of manganese for men and 31% for women. Also, these wondrous nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, fibre, and antioxidants, which can protect your cells from any harmful inflammation that causes chronic conditions.
Finally, it provides 19% of your recommended magnesium dose, which is linked to improving sleep in those suffering from insomnia and can reduce the stress hormones known as cortisol.
While chamomile tea isn’t something you eat, it can be a great drink before bed. It is well-known for its flavones, antioxidants that can reduce inflammation associated with chronic health conditions. That’s not all. Chamomile tea also contains apigenin which holds power to promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia. One study showed that adults who drank chamomile tea twice daily for 28 days fell asleep faster and had reduced nighttime waking.
Eating fruit before bed, such as a kiwi can be great if you usually feel hungry at night. One kiwi is only 42 calories and is an excellent source of vitamin C. These fruits are also a great source of folate and potassium, aiding your overall well-being. In one four-week study, there were 24 participants. Each consumed a kiwi an hour before bed. It was seen that they were able to fall asleep 42% more easily when compared to the time they didn’t eat anything before bed. Also, there was a 5% improvement in their sleep, with fewer nighttime wakings.
Instead of eating ice cream before bed, opt for eating protein before bed. That’s where turkey comes in. It is a great protein source and can help regulate your appetite. Now, why should you enjoy a slice of turkey before bed? Because it is rich in tryptophan, which is an amino acid that aids the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Also, research (mentioned above) shows that limited amounts of protein can improve sleep quality.
What Not To Eat Before Bed
Now, let’s understand all the food items you must avoid before bed to ensure an uninterrupted sleep.
While tea and coffee are known sources of caffeine and can hamper your sleep, eating chocolate before bed must also be avoided as they too might contain caffeine and act as a stimulant, hampering your sleep.
Delicious dinners can be hard to resist. But going to bed with a heavy stomach can interrupt your sleep. Meals that are heavy take longer to digest. It includes fatty, cheesy or fried food. This can keep you up at night and also make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
Spicy food is not good for you at night, especially if you suffer from heartburn. Also, another reason you must avoid hot food like peppers is that your body temperature must be lower for a good night’s rest. However, spicy food does the opposite and can leave you hot and sweaty. Therefore, opt for something mild before bed.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage, are great for your health but not something to load up before sleep. This is because you may end up digesting it even when asleep.
Sugary desserts, cereals or other treats should be avoided before bedtime. When there is an insulin imbalance right before you go to bed, it can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. If you enjoy a sweet treat after your meal, consume it in limited quantities two to three hours before bed.
Best Time to Eat Dinner
The ideal time to have your dinner is two to three hours before you hit the sheets. This gives your body ample time to digest and also burn some calories. It is believed that you must never directly go to bed after a meal as it can lead to disrupted sleep and also cause weight gain.
When To Stop Eating Before Bed
People are curious to know when is the right time to stop eating at night especially because it is believed that late-night meals cause weight gain. Now, if you consume more than what your body needs or make it a habit to eat unhealthy food at night, it can cause weight gain. Also, eating too close to your bedtime can increase sleep latency.
One study showed that eating or drinking an hour or less before bedtime could lead to waking up during the night.
Also, the nighttime is when the brain has the time to remove any toxins that have been accumulated. But if the process of digestion takes place at the same time, blood is redirected to the digestive system and the brain is left with fewer resources. Therefore, as a general rule, your last meal must be two to three hours before you sleep.
Eating before bed doesn’t necessarily have to be bad for you as long as you follow the gap between your last meal and bedtime and consume the right food. And if you feel hungry or crave something sweet, eat fruit like an apple or kiwi. Consuming sugary or caffeine-rich food can hamper your sleep.
Is it OK to eat right before bed?
No, you must not eat right before bed. It is always best to stop eating at least three hours before you hit the sheets as it allows your body to digest whatever it is you have eaten so you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep. So, if you are wondering does eating before bed affects sleep, the answer is yes.
Is it OK to sleep after eating?
Sleeping immediately after eating or lying down after eating can slow down your metabolism. Therefore, it is best to give some time between your last meal and your sleep.
Does eating before bed help you sleep?
Eating some foods before bed can help you sleep. For instance, peanut butter before bed can be beneficial as it is protein and rich in tryptophan, which promotes sleep.
Take a look at the above article to know more.
Can I sleep 30 minutes after eating?
No, you must give it more time as sleep- can lead to indigestion, heartburn, etc.
Should I eat before sleeping if I’m hungry?
If you are hungry, eat something that is easily digested. For instance, eating an apple before bed can be good for you as it is light and contains a blend of nutrients that can aid sleep. And if you are thinking does eating before bed makes you gain weight, well, eating fruit will prevent the same.
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