Gone are the days when it was suggested that eating before bed will cause nightmares – this is not the case. However, eating before bed is generally not a good idea if you are intending to lose weight. Eating before sleep is also not a god idea if you are planning to have a resting night. This is a bad eating habit. The advice is not to eat less than three hours before you decide to sleep, because you will gain weight and suffer discomfort throughout the night if you do.
The discomfort that is suffered during the night when we eat before sleep is usually attributed to heartburn. After eating, our level of stomach acid rises and, if we lie down to sleep, there is a greater risk that some of this acid will make its way into the oesophagus and irritate the skin; causing heartburn.
The reasons we gain weight if we eat before we sleep are simple. Firstly, our metabolism slows down when we sleep. Our bodies revert to a more relaxed state where our whole digestive system slows down. The food that we eat just before we sleep is processed much more slowly than when we are awake with much less of the ‘good stuff’ being absorbed into the body before the food is expelled. This will play havoc with our health (we aren’t taking in vital vitamins from the food) but, more importantly, it means we have a ‘dead weight’ in our stomachs which will increase our weight.
Secondly, because we are inactive whilst we are sleeping, we will not have a chance to burn off the calories that we have taken into our bodies. All foods contain sugars which, when we are active, provide a quick source of energy that helps us to keep going. As such, the calories obtained from these sugars are quickly burned off so we suffer little from them. If, however, we eat before sleep, the food just lies there in our stomachs. The sugars that are absorbed into the body are not used or burned off which means that they build up. When the sugars are not burned off the turn to fat, which means that we have a build up of fat in our bodies; something that is obviously going to make us gain weight and be detrimental to our diet. It is worth noting that it doesn’t matter what you eat; all food contains sugars so will add fat if not burned off.
Whilst you may want to have a quick snack before bed, this bad eating habit isn’t worth ruining your diet and get a bad night’s sleep for! Try to avoid any type of food at least 3 hours before bedtime. Very important don’t eat carbs after 7pm. Avoid bread, cereals or pasta until morning. Extra carbohydrates eaten in the evening often convert to fat! Though, you can have a glass of water before your sleep. It will clean your digestive system and hydrate your body for some good 8 hours of sleep.