Maybe you were told as a kid eating before bed is bad for you, or maybe you heard it on some talk show with an overly energetic diet guru. Is it true or is there science behind this saying?
When It’s ALWAYS A Bad Idea
While there’s been a decades long, ongoing debate of whether it’s good or bad to eat just before bed, there’s one all inclusive answer that trumps the others. It’s always a bad idea to eat before bed when
You’ve already consumed your total daily calories.
If you’re on a 2,000 calorie diet and you’ve already consumed all those calories earlier in the day, eating a 400 calorie snack right before bed will cause you to gain weight. It has nothing to do with the fact or myth of eating before bed.
It has everything to do with being in an extreme calorie surplus for the day because you ate a high calorie snack after consuming all your allotted daily calories.
But what if you’re under your daily calorie allotment? What if you’re on that same 2,000 calorie diet and you’ve only eaten 1,800? Is it okay to eat that last 200 calories fifteen minutes before going to bed?
That’s where the debate lies. Is that 200 calories treated differently right before bed, compared to eating it earlier in the day?
Studies have shown, when it comes to weight loss, it’s more myth than fact. It isn’t the same for everyone, but the food you choose has a greater influence on how you sleep. Both the quality and the duration.
Further studies have also shown more significant weight loss in those who sleep better. So there is an odd correlation between eating before bed and weight management, but it’s not a direct influence.
What’s Bad To Eat
Let’s start with the bad, and obvious stuff. Caffeine, sugar and anything that might stimulate a surge of energy is a non-starter.
So avoid all the late night donuts and coffee. And though ice cream has become a main staple of late night American culture, the sugar content makes it a horrible choice. Also beware of sodas, tea and even decaf coffee. There are trace amounts of caffeine in decaf that can cause problems for those more sensitive to caffeine.
See also: Best diet for fast weight loss
What’s Good To Eat
When it comes to weight loss lean protein will always be preferable to carb laden foods, but when it comes to sleep the opposite is actually true. Protein is harder for your body to digest because the process slows down while you sleep. Eating a large portion of protein can cause indigestion, or stomach pains which will disrupt your ability to sleep.
Instead choose something like a low sugar cereal, or some toast to ease your grumbling stomach and help you fall asleep.