Should I or should I not eat before bed? This is a common debate in dieting circles, with many confused on how to go about it. There are several differing opinions on this topic, with backing up facts on each side.
Studies suggest that having a meal before sleep can affect weight loss and sleeping patterns. Both are critical physiological functions needed for your healthy being. To know whether or not you should eat before bed, hang on as we have an in-depth look at this subject.
Contrary to most suggestions, there are many benefits of eating before slumbering. If you ever slept on an empty stomach, you understand how going to bed hungry is uncomfortable.
Things can even go out of hand if you have health conditions like peptic ulcers. Also, you may seem tired and out of place during the day due to not having a proper sleep.
A thing to keep in mind is the timing. Many professionals recommend that you have a meal at least 2-3 hours before hitting the sheets and try to wake up early. Highlighted below are some of the perks of going to bed on a full stomach.
We cannot stress this more; sleep is essential for your well-being. It helps you recharge and wake up fresh. As earlier hinted, many people have a problem sleeping on an empty stomach. To get you in a relaxed mood, have a bowl of your favorite snack, maybe two hours before bed.
You may notice that you feel very sleepy after having a heavy meal. This is due to blood flow heading to the small intestines for absorption of nutrients. As such, there is minimal blood flow to the brain, which brings sleepiness. It may work for you if you have difficulty sleeping.
If you are on meds, you need food to act as a buffer. It is true, especially if you should take the drugs before sleeping. Without food, some meds may be pretty harsh on your digestive tract or be less effective.
A common argument against eating before sleeping is that it contributes to weight gain. A wrong assumption is that when you sleep, all your body systems shut down. Metabolism continues, considering that rest also needs energy. It means if you eat, the food will still get processed. You can have snacks that are metabolism boosters to improve energy production when you are at rest.
Muscle synthesis is the repair of worn-out muscles, an antagonist to muscle protein breakdown. This process works best when you are resting. If you are into exercising, you can have a protein-based snack, like eggs or a milkshake, before sleeping. The foods provide building blocks for muscle regeneration. In the long run, it will help you achieve the desired body or level of fitness.
You need brainpower for high activity and physiological coordination. Having a meal moments before you sleep will provide the base brainpower for the following day. Eat your favorite snack, especially if it is rich in essential nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, for a fresh boost when you get up. It also gives you residual energy if you are into exercising.
Despite its many advantages, having a meal before sleep has some downsides, as shown below.
There is the risk of getting heartburn when you take a meal right before you hit the sheets. It comes from consuming foods, like those with tomatoes or cooked with some alcohol. Heartburn can be pretty uncomfortable, where you feel a sharp pain around your chest. It may interfere with your sleeping pattern, and you may wake up feeling beat.
Eating before sleep can be a problem if you have some digestive problems. One of the major culprits is gastro-esophageal reflux syndrome. Here you risk having stomach contents flow back to the esophagus. It may lead to ulcers or, worse off, choking.
If you overeat, you will have a hard time getting decent rest. You may feel a pinch on your tummy, forcing you to assume different sleeping positions. The shifting may compound the problem. In some individuals, it may cause secondary issues like vomiting, which is quite dangerous when asleep.
In this case, overeating is still the culprit. If you consume large amounts of food, you are at risk of gaining weight, especially if the diet is rich in carbs and fat. A thing to know is that metabolism when sleeping is pretty slow. So if you consume large food servings, you may gain weight.
The other downside of this eating pattern is high blood sugar. Your blood sugar levels may rise after consuming too many carbs. Short-term effects include restlessness due to excess energy, which can lead to loss of sleep. At times, it may manifest in mood swings. Long-term effects include metabolism and nervous system issues.
There are things you need to know about eating before bed for sound sleep and health. First of all, timing is essential. As per many dieticians’ advice, eat 2-3 hours before bed. Here, you kick start metabolism earlier; hence, minimal chances of disturbance when asleep.
Also, take small food servings that offer sufficient nutritional value. In this case, a small serving will have you satisfied and offer maximum nutrients. Large food servings may cause some discomfort and come with the risk of weight gain.
The choice of food also matters. Many dieting professionals encourage you to steer away from carbs when you are almost going to bed. Excess carbs can spike up your blood sugar levels, which can affect your sleep due to irritability. Instead, you can stack up on veggies, fruits, and some proteins.
Talking about blood sugar, ensure you achieve a balance. Going extra low on sugars will have you getting up feeling weak and moody at times.
Eating before bed is not bad after all, bearing in mind its advantages. Contrary to hearsay, it is not a guaranteed ticket to being overweight. It depends on what you consume. Eat healthily, and weight gain won’t be a problem.
Additionally, you sleep fast and soundly, which is essential if you have bouts of insomnia. Some of the downsides include heartburn, indigestion, and weight gain. Follow guidelines like timing, quantity, and food choice to avoid any problems associated with having a meal before sleeping.