Why You Should Never Eat Right Before Bed

I’m a notoriously late eater. It’s 3:15 p.m. in the afternoon, and I just finished eating my lunch. This means that I don’t get around to eating dinner until after 8 p.m. However, I love sleep, and if I’m home, I’m usually in bed with lights out before 11 p.m. I know I should eat earlier in the day, but I wasn’t sure why eating before sleeping was so bad for you. Business Insider has the details, pointing out that “late-night dining—especially when it consists of a heavy meal followed by little or no activity—can screw up the systems our bodies rely on to process food. Proper digestion is critical for absorbing the nutrients in what we eat and discarding the stuff we don’t.”

Studies have shown that late-night eaters trying to lose weight lose significantly less than early eaters, and that eating dinner within three hours of bedtime is linked to acid reflux, which can cause heartburn, indigestion, coughing, hoarseness, and asthma. Sitting upright helps the body digest food properly, so if you do eat late in the evening, don’t lie down right after dinner. Wash the dishes, do some cleaning, or take a walk around the block. To avoid the issue altogether, try eating larger lunches. As Business Insider points out, “the stomach takes about three hours to empty itself, so waiting at least this amount of time before laying down or sleeping is a good idea.”

Be inspired to make larger lunches by cooking from the book Beating the Lunch Box Blues.

What time do you eat dinner? Is it close to your bedtime?