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What happens if you eat your dinner right before going to bed?

Published on:22 August 2021, 12:00pm IST
Having late dinner right before you hit the bed may not seem harmful but it can actually mess up your health in the long-run.
Grace Bains
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dinner
You might have to change your dinner time! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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While what you eat is an important consideration, when you eat is also important. For those of you who are trying to lose weight, sleep well, or improve overall health, dinner is perhaps the most critical meal. The body reacts differently to different types of foods, and this could impact how you digest, maintain body weight, and sleep.

There is no black or white answer to whether eating a meal right before going to bed is right or wrong. It all comes down to the type of food being consumed and its portion.

Here’s what happens to your body when you eat a meal right before going to sleep
late dinner
The time at which you eat your dinner makes a world of a difference. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Eating your dinner just before going to bed comes with its own set of considerations, a few worthy of being implored are as follows:

1. Weight management

According to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, a late dinner is usually associated with weight gain and high blood sugar levels, as the body’s metabolism slows down at night. Here, food choices and their quantity are critical. A gap, however, should be kept between eating dinner and going to bed, for effective weight management, as the body needs time to digest and metabolise the food properly.

2. Acid reflux, digestion and related issues

Another consideration of eating late is acid reflux. Large meals just before sleeping, could cause acid reflux, digestion issues, dental erosions, and heartburn. Your body needs time to digest the food, and acid reflux is a direct consequence of eating a meal just before going to bed. As per a study by American Journal of Gastroenterology, “if you have acid reflux, it’s a good idea to avoid eating anything for at least 3 hours before lying down in bed.”

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Eat your dinner on time to avoid digestion issues. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Sleep quality

While heavy meals, just before sleeping, could cause sleep disruptions, the body still needs energy to function even when it is sleeping. So, although consuming sufficient calories through nutritious foods is a must before going to bed, over-consumption and unhealthy food choices could actually end up harming your sleep quality and duration. Having a large gap between the last meal and bedtime is also not advisable, as the body needs energy, which it gets from the retained food that it digests.

4. Overall health

Several health risks, such as obesity, heart ailments, and diabetes, are associated with eating late dinners. Eating a heavy meal just before sleeping could clog arteries with cholesterol and deposit fat in your liver. This could cause you to develop health complications that impact your overall health.

So while there is no straight answer, eating a heavy and unhealthy meal, just before going to bed, is generally harmful for you. So ladies, make better food choices and time your meals, to improve your health and wellbeing!

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.