Everyone loves having a midnight snack just before going to bed. Is this good or bad for your health? We have all heard the myth of gaining weight by eating a meal before bed resulting in various adverse effects.
Many individuals have a daily ritual of sleeping or taking a nap immediately after eating as it makes you very drowsy. However, many others believe that it is an unhealthy habit to go to sleep as soon as you finish eating and practice walking after eating a meal which aids in digestion. Read the article below and identify whether sleeping after eating is good or bad for your health.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Do You Feel Sleepy Immediately After Eating?
- 2 Does Sleeping After Lunch Or Dinner Makes You Gain Weight?
- 3 Which Problems Occur Due To Sleeping After Having A Meal?
- 4 After How Long Can You Sleep After Eating A Meal?
- 5 Avoid These Things After Eating
- 6 Snacks Which You Can Consume Before Sleeping
- 7 Conclusion
Why Do You Feel Sleepy Immediately After Eating?
People have an urge to sleep after eating as their bodies are occupied digesting the food that has been eaten. After you are done eating, the brain sends signals to the organs for immediate digestion and directs all the blood away from the rest of the organs. The red blood cells aid in digesting the food which helps distribute the nutrients all over the body, leading the brain to blood deprivation and causing you to feel sleepy.
Does Sleeping After Lunch Or Dinner Makes You Gain Weight?
No, it is not necessarily true that sleeping will result in weight gain. However, eating before going to bed might result in weight gain due to the consumption of calories and sleeping without losing any. Bear in mind that it does not matter when you have your meal because the calories which you consume might have been burned off already throughout the day. Of course, you will gain weight if you consume more calories than you can burn through daily exercises.
Which Problems Occur Due To Sleeping After Having A Meal?
Though weight gain does not occur after sleeping, it is not a good idea to relax after eating. After having a meal, the body works continuously to digest the food which might lead to digestive problems if you sleep immediately. Eating late at night can also result in impaired judgment along with weak willpower
which results in being tired. Hunger in the middle of the night does not guarantee that you will prepare a salad at that time. It will be more appealing to opt for ice cream or pizza. The unhealthy decisions regarding meals at night before bed lead to weight gain as you are unable to burn those calories. Many studies have been conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluding several reasons as to why you should avoid going to sleep after eating.
The reasons include the following:
You might feel good lying down immediately after a meal, but it results in heartburn leading to issues sleeping. Heartburn occurs due to the excessive production of stomach acids spreading from the stomach and directing towards the throat or chest. The stomach acid heading towards the upper organs result in belching, leading to a sour taste in the mouth. The heartburn is also associated with burping making it worse for you to have a good night sleep.
- Acid Reflux
The feeling of acid reflux is also termed as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. The condition occurs due to the location of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach which does not close. The stomach acids move towards the throat and make you feel a burning sensation. If the condition is not treated immediately, it will result in damaging effects on the mucous membrane of the throat leading to further complications.
A study was conducted in Greece which concluded that sleeping immediately after eating a meal leads to the increased risk of stroke. A study was conducted at University of Ioannina Medical School which included around 500 participants of which 250 had previous strokes, while other 250 people were diagnosed with a medical condition termed as Acute Coronary syndrome. The results showed that people who slept after four to five hours of eating were at less risk of having a stroke. The theories which were related to these findings included that acid reflux is associated with sleep apnea which might result in stroke. According to another research study, as the body is working hard in digesting food and if you sleep after eating, there are increased chances of a rise in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels leading to increased risk of having a stroke.
- SLEEPING ISSUES
Eating a meal just before sleep results in stomach pain and bloating resulting in turning and tossing of your body. Spicy, dense, and fatty foods lead to digestive issues, including heartburn, leading to sleep complications.
After How Long Can You Sleep After Eating A Meal?
It takes around two to three hours for the food to completely digest. You need to stay up for at least two hours after finishing the meal. You can sleep well after the food is completely absorbed and your body will not store fat as it has already burned it off.
Avoid These Things After Eating
Follow these simple things to avoid any digestive problems:
- Avoid smoking
studies conclude that smoking a cigarette after consuming a meal equals to 10 cigarettes consumed at different times. This increases your risk of suffering from lung cancer.
- Avoid bathing immediately after eating
Taking a bath after eating increases your chance of suffering from digestive problems. Taking a shower increases the blood flow towards the hands, legs, and all over the body. This leads to less blood flow towards digestive organs and weakens digestive functions. If you are planning on taking a shower, you should wait 40 minutes after finishing your meal.
- Avoid eating fruits immediately after having a meal
Fruits help the body in digestion if consumed one to two hours before eating lunch or dinner. If the fruits are eaten after eating a meal, they lead to bloating.
- AVOID DRINKING TEA
Do not drink tea for one hour before eating and after finishing a meal as the acidity of the tea might make it difficult for the body to digest the food properly. The acids of the tea contain hard proteins making it difficult to digest and also prevents the body from absorbing iron.
Snacks Which You Can Consume Before Sleeping
Have pre-sleep meals which are easily digestible, low in calories, a delicious taste, and readily absorbable by the body. This means choosing a good quality snack along in a small portion.
These healthy snacks include a glass of milk with honey, whole-grain cereals, almonds, blueberries, peanut butter, fruits with low-fat yogurt, crackers, and others.
In conclusion, rather than sleeping immediately after finishing a meal, staying upright is a better option as it allows for proper digestion. Have your dinner at least two to three hours before sleeping, enabling your body to digest the food thoroughly. This time duration prevents the body from undergoing any digestive problems which might occur due to lying down flat after having a meal.
Snack on light foods if you are hungry before bed, such as whole-grain cereals or crackers. These foods are easy to digest and serve as an excellent source of proteins and carbs. Avoid eating large meals, or heavy foods, before bed such as burgers, fries, or pizza as these are rigid for the body to digest and they are loaded with calories.