Is it bad to go to bed too soon after eating? We've all heard that eating late can keep you awake at night and cause digestive problems. But is it true and Does Eating Late Keep You Awake? If you find yourself struggling to get to sleep or stay asleep, it might be best to avoid the midnight snack.
How long to wait between meals and sleep
In general, doctors recommend leaving at least 2-3 hours after eating before heading to bed. This allows for the digestive process to move the food from the stomach to the large intestine. By allowing this delay, it prevents the chances of getting heartburn or stomach aches caused by laying down after eating.
Links between certain foods and sleep
While eating before bed is best to be avoided, there are certain foods that will help sleep and ones that will hinder. Turkey, pork chops and cherries contain high levels of tryptophan. A substance that turns into melatonin, the chemical that makes us fall asleep. Although these foods might help sleep, they're not the ideal midnight snack. Milk is a popular drink before bed for helping people get to sleep. While milk doesn't have any scientific evidence for helping us sleep, it's an extremely popular bedtime ritual that many find beneficial.
So why does food keep us awake?
Ultimately, it comes down to the digestive process. If it starts too close to bedtime, the likelihood is you'll find yourself waking up 4-5 hours after falling asleep. In some cases, people find eating a small snack before bedtime doesn't disrupt their sleep but large meals cause them to wake. During the digestive process, the body sorts food into water waste, general waste and energy. Eating a large meal will make begin the sorting process and eventually wake you up either needing the toilet or just feeling wide awake from an influx of energy. So overall, it's best to avoid food before bed if you can.