Is it harmful to eat something before going to bed? Or does a late dinner even promote sleep and digestion?
As with so many other topics about sleep, there are also very different opinions and prejudices about food.
In order to really get to the bottom of the subject, I have read many current studies for you and learned some surprising and interesting facts.
I have summarized the most important points for you as clearly as possible in the following article:
Well-known wisdom about sleeping and eating
You are sure to know one or two wise sayings on the subject of sleeping and eating.
- A full stomach doesn’t like studying
- You should rest after eating
- Eat breakfast like an emperor, lunch like a king and dinner like a beggar
In many southern countries, an extended nap, the so-called siesta, is part of the daily routine and you will certainly not hear the term “digestive sleep” for the first time either.
- However, in addition to the decision to eat (or not), the choice of food also plays a role.
- Some of them have a stimulating effect (e.g. spicy food ), others in turn are drowsy (soothing sleep tea ).
The body has a finely balanced energy balance, which is based on daily routines and exertions.
The body’s energy balance
In general, doctors recommend consuming the most nutrients at breakfast and lunch, as the body needs more energy during the day than at night.
- However, this can change quickly with a simple change in working hours.
- The habit of exercising later in the day also affects your body’s energy balance.
Conclusion: Your very personal daily routine is the only fundamental factor in determining the amount of energy your body needs.
The meals influence the daily rhythm
Anyone who has a normal daily routine and eats a very fatty and high-calorie food late at night will find that they have problems sleeping peacefully.
- The body has to process the many ingested foods and does not come to rest as a result.
- Normally the body uses the time of sleep to break down proteins and to regenerate the body.
If, on the other hand, he is busy with digestion, the organs are stressed unusually. It can lead to lack of sleep and sleep disorders .
Is dinner always unhealthy?
Avoiding too much fat or eating too much in the evening does not mean that you have to forgo all food.
For example, to sleep better and wake up rested, you shouldn’t go to bed hungry either.
- Rather, it helps to have those foods for dinner that do not stress the body and favor its digestive functions.
- These foods include long-chain carbohydrates, low-fat meat or fish dishes, cooked vegetables or certain fruits.
- Such foods are easier to digest than fat and are therefore suitable for a more peaceful sleep.
When should you eat before going to bed at the latest?
For a large, fatty dinner, experts recommend waiting at least four hours before going to bed.
- This gives the body time to digest the food in peace.
- For light meals or very active digestion, one to two hours are enough.
Depending on how your day went and how much effort you had in the evening, you should adjust your diet so that your body is always well taken care of.
Hunger should be avoided as well as a feeling of fullness.
Which foods have a positive effect on your sleep?
In addition to the time of ingestion, the quality of the food is of course also decisive.
Even if you shouldn’t eat fatty fish late at night, salmon for lunch, for example, can improve the night’s sleep because it has many important nutrients.
The following list shows you some of the foods that can have a positive effect on your sleep:
Foods that have a positive effect on sleep
- Whole grain pasta or rice: the complex carbohydrates are broken down by the body in a slow process.
- Salmon or tuna (for lunch ) : delicious fish that also provides the body with the important vitamin B6.
- Fish oil (for lunch): If you only eat a little fish, there are also capsules for the intake of valuable omega 3 .
- Chicken Breast : Chicken or turkey is ideally seared in a little fat before going to bed
- Asparagus: a supplier of many important vitamins
- Apricots: an ideal snack as they are low in sugar
- Bananas : the potassium and magnesium they contain promote sleep
- Cooked vegetables: frozen vegetables in particular can be prepared quickly with little fat
- Popcorn (salted) : if you want to snack, then it should be as low in fat and high in fiber as possible