How Long Should You Wait after Eating to Sleep?

Most of us have late dinners after a busy day, while other people simply love to grab a snack or two while watching their favorite movie right before going to bed. But, the question is: Is it good for us to eat so late in the night and how long should we wait between eating and going to sleep?

Read our article and find out how much time should pass before bedtime after eating and what might happen to you if you don’t wait long enough before going to sleep. Last updated Aug 24, 2020 @ 7:50 pm

Food and Sleep

While there are some foods that contain certain substances that may help you fall asleep easier like turkey and pork chops that may stimulate your body to produce serotonin and melatonin, other foods like spicy foods and foods containing a lot of sugar can cause wakefulness and interfere with your sleep.

Also, warm milk is comforting and may help you relax a bit and mentally prepare for sleep, while alcohol may make you feel sleepy initially but its effects will wear off quickly and cause a fragmented and disrupted sleep. It can also cause sleep apnea as it relaxes the muscles of your airways.

What Happens When You Eat and Go to Sleep?

Although eating and going to bed immediately to sleep and rest may seem like an appropriate thing to do, it is actually very bad for your body and your overall health.

When you go to bed right after eating, there is food in your belly that needs to be digested and our bodies are most comfortable digesting food in upright position which helps us absorb food easily.

Sleeping right after eating will affect your digestion process which can lead to various problems and in some extreme cases even serious digestive diseases.

Improper digestion can lead to acid reflux which causes the acids from your stomach to come back up into your esophagus and create that burning sensation in your throat.

Will You Gain Weight if You Eat Late in the Night?

There is a popular belief that late night snacks or eating late in the evening causes weight gain. This does not necessarily have to be true. It will only happen if you have more calories in the evening than what you had during the day.

But, if you eat too much and have too much calories before sleep, then you will definitely gain weight.

How Long Should You Wait after Eating to Sleep?

Now when you know how eating before bedtime can affect your digestive system and your health, the only question left is: how long should you wait to sleep after eating?

According to dietitians, you should have your last big meal of the day at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. This will give your body enough time to digest food and you won’t have troubles lying down with a huge meal in your stomach.

However, if you stay awake till late in the night and 4 to 5 hours have passed after you ate your last meal, you can have a little snack before bedtime.

In such case, you can have some light foods and snacks like a piece of fruit, crackers or whole-grain cereal. Your body can easily digest these foods and they are healthy sources of protein and carbs.


So, should you eat right before bedtime? The answer is no. Eating large meals and caloric food right before going to sleep can be unhealthy and harmful to you.

It can affect your digestive system and cause various problems and even some serious digestive diseases. You should wait at least 2 to 3 hours after eating before sleep and if you have to eat something, you should avoid foods rich in calories.

This way you will sleep more peacefully and you will not gain weight from your late evening snacking.

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