5 Myths & Truths About Eating At Bedtime

Many people assume that eating right before going to bed is horrible for your health. However, the truths about eating before bed tell a different story. Here are some of the most common myths about bedtime snacking, debunked.

The Myths

1. Eating before bed makes you lose sleep.

Even though it seems to be common knowledge that food affects your sleep, eating before you sleep doesn’t actually impact you that much. You can eat almost anything as long as you go to bed at least three hours after eating.

If you break the rules and eat right before bedtime, the worst that’ll happen is you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. Eating before bed doesn’t affect how quickly you get to sleep or how long you stay asleep.

2. Bedtime snacking causes weight gain.

On top of not affecting your sleep, eating before bed also won’t make you gain weight. The amount of time between meals and the calories you consume are more likely to influence your weight than whether you eat before you drift off to sleep.

Intermittent fasting can become a problem if you start becoming nutrient deficient, so if you want to avoid eating before bed to try to lose weight, remember that you’re better off spacing out your meals and watching your calories.

3. Eating carbohydrates makes your sleep worse.

Although everyone thinks that carbs are evil, you can still eat pasta for dinner and sleep well at night. Carbs impact your body’s insulin and magnesium levels, which actually make you sleepier and help you stay asleep. They’re also fuel that will give you enough energy to exercise, so don’t worry about cutting them out of your diet if you plan to watch your calories.

The Truths

1. Some foods can keep you up at night.

Even though eating before bed in general won’t keep you up at night, some specific foods might. Put down that late-night chocolate bar or cup of coffee and save it for tomorrow. The caffeine in certain foods causes sleep interruptions because these foods stimulate your brain.

Limit your caffeine to the morning and stop eating anything with caffeine by lunch. This will get the caffeine out of your system before bedtime rolls around. Substitute caffeinated drinks for calming, non-caffeinated teas so that you can drift off to sleep when you’re ready.

2. Mindful eating helps your sleep.

Allow yourself to eat whatever you want. While avoiding cravings is sometimes wise, you’ll be fine if you eat your favorite foods in moderation. Don’t eat foods that  will upset your stomach or energize you because their effects on your body will keep you up. Instead, tell yourself you’ll get to eat the foods you crave tomorrow. It’ll give you something to look forward to — and you’ll sleep better too.

Food is fuel, so don’t overthink what you eat at the end of your day. Everything you eat supplies your body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that keep you going. Ensure that you get enough nutrients even if you fast or avoid specific foods before bed.

Eating before you go to bed isn’t all that bad. While eating too late might make you wake up at night, it’s worse for your body to go hungry. Even if a specific food affects you, just pay attention to your stomach and see if you can curb those cravings. We need to stop villainizing eating before bed — it might actually help us.

Featured Photo by Handy Wicaksono on Unsplash.


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