How long Should you wait after Eating to Sleep?

Do you feel heartburn and stomach upsets when you awake in the morning? Are you a late-night dinner? Those who used to sleep after eating are most likely to experience stomach problems. So, how long should you wait after eating to sleep?

Indeed, eating before bed is always a hot topic in nutrition. Some believe that eating before bed helps in better sleep. Thus, it has a positive effect on healthier life. In contrast, some support that it is not a good choice to eat before bed.

Let’s take a deep look at the bedtime meal!

Table of Content

How Long Should You Wait after Eating to Sleep?

Now that you know the cons of bedtime meals, it’s time to move on. Now let’s disclose, “how long should you wait after eating to sleep.”

A nutritionist recommends waiting for at least 3 hours after your last large meal. During this time, your stomach will digest the food you eat. However, you can also sleep within two hours of eating.

Therefore, you’ll have a good night with sweet dreams.

 Moreover, if you feel hungry before bed, you should eat a little protein snack. Such as fruit, nuts, or even a tiny portion of bread.

Why do we Feel Sleepy & Tired after Eating?

Drowsiness and fatigue are completely normal after eating a meal—humans and animals experience this tiredness. Indeed, food is the fuel for the human and animal body, even for all living organisms!

This condition of tiredness and sleepiness after eating is called postprandial somnolence. It is called a food coma. Because when we eat, we feel a strong urge to go to sleep.

Now the question is, why do we feel sleepy after eating?

When we eat our food, our brain sends signals to the digestive system. Thus, it increases blood flow to the digestive tract and speed-up digestion. The consequence is a temporary reduction in blood flow in the brain. That results in tiredness and sleepiness.

Sleep after eating
Portrait of attractive young female student yawning tired, feeling sleepy, white background.

Moreover, insulin level spikes when you consume food—resulting in a dip in energy levels.

Moreover, the type of food you consume, dining time, and food amount all affect your sleep cycle.

Here are few Reasons for Tiredness and Sleepiness after every Meal:

Indeed, the type of food you are consuming develops sleep after eating. As well, dining time and how much you ate affect your sleeping routines.

Food that You Eat

Carbohydrate- and protein-rich foods can put people to sleep more quickly.

Moreover, taking in food increases the amount of serotonin in the body. It is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep patterns. Indeed, it makes you feel tired.

Many foods rich in protein contain tryptophan (amino acid). Indeed, it helps in the production of serotonin—moreover, carbohydrates aids in the absorption of tryptophan in the body.

Therefore, eating a meal high in both protein and carbohydrates may cause drowsiness.

Here is a list of foods that contain tryptophan and make you sleepy:

  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Soy products
  • Pumpkin
  • Sesame seeds

Check out the following high-carbohydrate food list:

  • Potatoes
  • Beetroots
  • Sugar
  • Candy
  • Bakery items
  • Milk
  • Pasta
  • Whole grains
  • Rice
  • Fruits (apples, bananas, mangoes)
  • Dry fruits (dates, raisins, goji berries)
  • Pulses (Kidney beans, chickpeas, Lentils)

How Much Food do You Eat?

Even though, food types influence sleepiness. Therefore, food quantity also plays a role. Indeed, food coma and postprandial somnolence are often more pronounced in people who consume larger meals.

Undoubtedly, people who eat a large lunch or afternoon meal tend to feel drowsy and tired after eating.

Other Factors Contribute to Tiredness after Eating

Despite food type, and food quantity, the following factors cause sleep after a meal:

  • Having alcohol with a meal
  • Sleeping poorly at night
  • Ignoring breakfast
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Food allergies
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Caffeine overdose
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Heart Disease

All of these factors can lead to uncontrollable drowsiness after eating!

What is Food Coma?

Picture yourself eating delicious food. It was a good meal that satisfied your stomach. A sudden feeling of drowsiness caused you to fall asleep. While you watch television, you just yawn, yawn, and yawn! You changed channels once or twice. It’s a food coma.

Food coma __ a person has severe surge to sleep after eating
Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

The term “food coma” may also refer to postprandial somnolence. Indeed, this type of post-meal sleepiness occurs when you consume large quantities of food. Consequences include laziness, yawing, heaviness as well as bloating, or in some cases, nausea.

Symptoms of Food coma

  • Mental fogginess
  • Lethargy
  • Lightheaded
  • Laziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Continuous yawing

How to Cope with Food Coma?

Here are few tips on how to cope with food coma:

  • Whenever you eat, don’t treat it as if it’s your last
  • After a large meal, walk briskly for 15-30 minutes
  • Make yourself some coffee or tea
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet
  • You can combat food coma by eating less sugar
  • A cup of green tea can do wonders for your health
  • Before eating, drink a large glass of water
  • Make sure you eat breakfast every morning
  • Get Enough Sleep

  Add these recommendations to your lifestyle to enjoy an energetic diet!

Sleeping Right after Eating? What does that do to us?

Sleep immediately after a meal can lead to some health issues. Indeed, it can cause digestive problems, stomach illnesses, sleep disruptions, and even weight gain.

Effect of Late-Night Bites on Digestive System and Digestion

A late-night snack or meal can cause your body to suffer irreversible damage.

It is necessary to give your food some time to digest once you have finished eating. Moreover, you need to maintain an upright posture for proper digestion of stomach food. Therefore, when you lie flat immediately after a heavy meal, you are at risk of acid reflux.

Acid reflux is a highly uncomfortable condition. This happens when your stomach contents return to your esophagus. Thus, it results in unpleasant fleeing and disturbs sleep. Therefore, it results in heartburn.

Moreover, unhealthy meals and sleep patterns can also cause GERD as a result of the underlying causes.

Also, you might experience stomach cramps and aches. Further, late-night snacking causes heaviness in the stomach.

Further, unhealthy food choices develop unnatural eating patterns within your body. Therefore, you could develop eating disorders—anorexia, emotional eating, binge-eating, etc.

Aside from stomach disorders, you could also have a slowed metabolism.

Indeed, the metabolic rate drops at night. Hence, when you carelessly handle your food, you might wake up feeling tired.

Light night snacks and immediately sleeping after last meal causes acid reflux and stomach problems
Woman in white pajamas suffering from Acid reflux while wake up on her bed in the morning.

Disturbs Sleep Cycle

You lie immediately after a heavy meal because you were feeling tired. But, you can’t sleep due to your heavy stomach. Suddenly, you get heartburn and an uncomfortable feeling. Thus, you are unable to sleep despite your desire.

Indeed, sleeping through the night is difficult when you have stomach problems.

Furthermore, an upset stomach will interfere with your sleep. Therefore, you may wake up in the middle of the night. Moreover, people with a disrupted sleep cycle may have nightmares or horrible dreams.

Effect on Pregnant Ladies

Unusual hunger pangs are uncommon during pregnancy. But, expected ladies should avoid late-night snacking and immediate sleep after eating. Otherwise, it will result in lowering of BMI of your body. Thus, it will not affect your health but also adversely affect the baby’s health.

Take care of your and your baby’s health with proper diet and pregnancy exercise.

Can Sleeping After Eating Cause Weight Gain?

Sleep does not cause weight gain or loss. However, sleep after eating can result in abnormal weight gain. Certainly, calorie intake is the cause of this increase.

When we sleep, our metabolism rate is low. So we are unable to burn calories. Due to this, the body develops a stubborn fat deposit.

Why Shouldn’t You Sleep after Eating?

Several health problems are associated with a lack of sleep. Indeed, late-night heavy meals can disturb your sleep. Thus, it can cause specific health problems for you. Whether it fogs your mind, hurts your stomach, or depresses your mood.

Indeed, an unhealthy bedtime meal can have serious health consequences. Here are some examples:

  • Stomach illness
  • Heart Burn
  • Heart Disease
  • Sleeplessness
  • Depression
  • Obesity

To avoid all these consequences on your body. You should not sleep right after a meal (lunch, dinner, snacks).

Should I Sit up After Eating for a While?

It is not a good idea to sit right down after eating. Or not leave your dining chair when you are done. After eating, you should walk for a while. Thus, it will assist in digestion. Indeed, standing and walking after eating accelerates digestion.

Dietitians recommend sitting 30 to 60 minutes after finishing the last meal. So, you won’t gain weight and develop stomach diseases.

How Long Should You Wait to Lay Down after Eating?

Indeed, laying down immediately after eating affects health, just like sleeping and sitting. So, wait for 3 to 4 hours after you’ve finished eating your last bite before you go to bed.

So, Is Eating Right Before Bed Really That Bad?

Bedtime meals are generally not considered good by many people. Some nutritionists, however, suggest eating before you sleep.

As a bedtime meal, it does have both its pros and cons.

Many nutritionists believe that when you lay with a full stomach, you sleep better. Moreover, they exaggerate that the metabolism rate is the same in resting conditions. Therefore, there is no risk of fat deposition. Furthermore, it also aids in regulating blood sugar levels.

Although some dieticians favor that late-night meal causes weight gain. Some neglect them by saying that eating healthy food might promote weight loss.

Indeed, health issues are caused by eating unhealthy foods before sleep. The result is insomnia, nightmares, or even stomach problems.

If you get a craving for something incredible (and completely unhealthy) every once in a while, indulge because there will be no consequences. However, eating large, unhealthy meals late at night is not a habit that should be maintained — avoid it. Thus, your body will thank you! (with some much-needed sleep).

Do You Know How to Deal with Late-Night Cravings?

Almost all of us indulge in late-night snacks or pizza parties. Doesn’t it? Think of the cookie after your night out or the cold slice of pizza you eat afterward. Almost, most of us ate something at night.

Indeed, we live in a hectic world. We, therefore, work throughout the day as a daily routine. Thus, hunger pangs or late-night cravings are a natural process.

Indeed, our stomach demands more when we are tired or sleepless. Also, sleep deprivation puts you at a greater risk of stressful cravings. Here, you should keep your hands off unhealthy plates.

How Long Should I Wait to Lay Down after Eating a Snack?

Whether you should lay down or not after sleeping depends on what you consume. Suppose you ate something light and healthy. Then you can wait 30 to 1 hour before you get up. However, if you have eaten something unhealthy (rich in carbs), wait at least 2 hours before laying.

Late-Night Snack Option

Late-night craving or hunger is a natural phenomenon. Indeed, you can not prevent yourself from unusual hunger pangs.

When you are craving something salty, you should consider the following choices:

  • Salted macadamia nuts
  • Sardines
  • Olives
  • Edamame
  • Popcorn
  • Veggie chips
  • Gingerbread

 And if you want something sweet to the tongue, you should consider the following snacks choice:

  • Fruits
  • Peanut butter chocolate chip energy bites
  • Cookies
  • Trail mix
  • Coconut cashew energy bites
  • Sweet Jerky
  • Sweet popcorn
  • Ice-cream

Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime

Here is the list of some unhealthy food options. Indeed, you should not take it as a meal or snack at night.

  • Alcohol
  • Heavy Foods
  • Cheese
  • Foods with High Water Content
  • Caffeine
  • High Sugary Treats
  • Spicy Foods
  • Acidic Foods
  • High-fiber fruits and vegetables

Now it’s up to you to choose healthy or unhealthy!

Foods that Give You a Better Night’s Sleep

Indeed, better food means better sleep!

Here are some healthy food and snack option that can help you in better sleep:

  • Fruits (Kiwifruit, bananas, cherries, watermelon)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Fish (Tuna, halibut, and salmon)
  • Kale
  • Nuts (almond, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts)
  • Eggs
  • White rice
  • Figs
  • Pistachios
  • Prunes
  • Herbal tea
  • Oatmeal

Keep your body healthy with healthy food. Therefore, you can sleep well without experiencing stomach trouble or any other health issue.

What Should I Do after Eating?

Late-night snacks or bedtime meal gives your stomach a tough time for digestion. Therefore, you should consider certain things after eating. For instance, a little walk, better diet strategy, drinking of water etc.

Consequently, it helps in the proper digestion of food.

Take a 10 Minutes Walk

An after-meal walk promotes digestion. Indeed, when you walk a little after your last meal, you have a better digestion pattern. Moreover, it helps in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

You should make it your daily routine to walk 10 to 20 or even 30 minutes after eating.

Drink Water

Water can help flush out extra sodium and toxins from the body. Additionally, water makes digestion easier. Water helps in the lubrication of stomach food. Thus, the stomach finds it easy in grinding and absorption of stomach food.

Aside from stomach health, water also helps you glow on the outside.

Take the Time to Plan Your Next Meal

You should never feed leftover food. But, you can plan a low-carb diet for your next meal. Set a time to prepare your healthy diet plan. The mobile phone app helps you to schedule a healthy meal.

Take a Probiotic:

Probiotics are healthy gastrointestinal bacteria. Indeed, these beneficial bacteria help in the proper digestion of food. Thus, it is recommended to eat probiotic food with a meal.

Don’t do These Things after Eating

Eating healthy food is not just enough! You should also consider certain things to avoid after a stomach-full meal. Here are some of the most common bad habitats that You should avoid after the meal.

Don’t Smoke

Cigarette packs clearly state this.

Smoking is injurious to health

Indeed, smoking after a meal is even ten times worst. Chemicals such as Carcinogen in smoke content makes your stomach irritant to food you eat or worsen your stomach condition.
Therefore, you should keep yourself away from smoking after a meal. But indeed, you should eradicate it from your precious life.

Do not Stress Yourself out; Relax Instead

If you have just eaten a heavy meal, don’t become stressed. Instead, engage in after-meal activities to burn calories. Next time, plan something healthy to eat.

Therefore, a stressful period after overeating may lead to binge-eating.

Don’t Lay Down

Don’t lay down immediately after eating. At least, you should wait for 2 to 3 hours before lying down. Otherwise, you may suffer from acid reflux or GERD.

Avoid Carbonated Drinks

If you are already overstuffed, carbonated drinks are not the wise choice. They give you a lot of gas in your stomach. Thus, you experience bloating and farting.

Avoid Leftovers

Leftovers from a wedding or birthday party may be high in calories. You have already done it. So, it is pointless to add more calories when you don’t have enough room in your body.

How long should you wait to sleep after eating. __ leftover meals in fridge.
Photo by Abdullah Ahmad on Unsplash

If your grandma’s yummiest pie is too good to resist, then you shouldn’t keep it in your fridge.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Nutritionists and even ordinary people are always concerned about food and sleep. Indeed, there is a lot of confusion around bedtime meals. Listed here are some of the concerns people have!

Is it OK to sleep 1 hour after eating?

Late-night snacks require a short digestion interval if they were light. However, if you are stomach full, you should wait for 3 to 4 hours. A minimum waiting period must be two hours.

Is it bad to sleep after eating?

Yes, it is unhealthy to sleep after eating. Therefore, your body can’t digest the calories. Thus, calorie accumulation in the body can lead to many health concerns.

Is it bad to eat 2 hours before bed?

As a bedtime meal, light snacks or low-calorie foods are not a bad choice. But, avoid high-protein and high-carbohydrate meals 2 hours before bedtime.

Can I sleep 30 minutes after eating?

Yes, If you have eaten a low-calorie meal. But if you ate a hearty meal before sleeping, you should not lay down immediately.

Should You Go to Bed Hungry?

If you ate a well-balanced diet during the day, it is OK to sleep hungry. Therefore, it will contribute to weight loss. However, you should eat some healthy late-night snacks if your day nutrition was lacking.

Eat Better, Sleep Better, Live Better!

Life is short, and death is eternal. A healthy life is, therefore, our right. With healthy food and healthy sleep, you can live a healthy life. Sleep is undoubtedly improved by eating healthfully.

Indeed, healthy eating goes hand-in-hand with healthy sleeping patterns. However, when a person chooses to eat consciously but avoids sounds related to digestion, they become susceptible to sleep disturbances and stomach problems.

Besides healthy food, healthy lifestyles, and health issues, you should also know how long should you wait after eating to sleep?

Finally, Eat Better, Sleep Better, Live Better!

Aneeza Pervez

My name is Aneeza Pervez. I am a medical content writer. I enjoy travelling, writing, reading, composing, and singing. As a health advocate, I educate people about how to be healthy through my content. Health is wealth, so do your best to keep it!

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