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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.
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.”
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!