If you often eat too late and find it difficult to stay or fall as sleep, which are the common signs of insomnia, you would wonder: How long should you wait to sleep after eating? Is it good or bad go to bed right after eating? Whether it is a late dinner or midnight snack, there are a few things you need to know to keep your health in the best condition.
How long should you wait between your dinner and bedtime?
Generally, most doctors recommend that you should wait for at least two to three hours after the meal to go to sleep. This duration is sufficient for the foods in your stomach go into the small intestine and digest properly. As a result, it will help reduce the risks of heartburn or insomnia at night.
If you lie down too soon, it might cause the foods to reflux into your esophagus, which results in GERD or heartburn issues. More importantly, lying down a few hours after eating also reduce the risk of having a sleep disturbance.
Risks of having dinner before sleeping
Eating too much and close to your bedtime might actually induce heartburn. Due to reflux symptoms, lying down can cause burning discomfort in your chest and a bitter taste in the mouth. Many people often report this as burping up foods. Acidic and spicy foods like tomatoes and citrus might be particularly bothersome. Peppermint, chocolate, and alcohol can also worsen reflux and heartburn.
b. Sleep disturbance
Sleeping immediately after a meal might interrupt your sleep because the bloated feel would keep your body from resting. Also, digestive upsets would often wake you up during the night. Fatty and spicy foods might lead to heartburn, making it difficult to have a good sleep.
Eating the wrong foods before a bedtime might result in a higher level of sugar in your blood. Therefore, if you have a busy schedule and have no other choice than eating late, it’s advisable to have protein-rich and fiber-rich options such as whole grains, cottage cheese, baby carrots, gelatin. These foods can satisfy your hunger while having a minor impact on your digestive system.
d. Acid reflux and GORD symptoms
If you have GORD, a disease marked by regular acid reflux, it is recommended to avoid eating before sleeping for at least 3 hours. Lying down might restrict the flow of acid in your stomach, thus leading to heartburn and worsening the symptoms. By the time you get reclined for the night, make sure that most of the acid activities should have abated.
The relationship between sleep and food
There are many kinds of food which contain substances that might enhance sleep. For instance, pork chops and turkey have a high level of tryptophan, a component which can be metabolized by the digestive system into sleep-inducing agents, including melatonin and serotonin.
Also, some foods such as cherries are naturally rich in melatonin. Other options would be comforting, like a cup of milk, as it helps you feel relaxing and mentally prepared for sleeping.
Drinking alcohol at night can make you feel sleepy at first, but it will wear off quickly and disrupt or fragment your sleep later. Also, it can relax the muscles in the airway and worse your sleep apnea. Many studies also prove that the timing of foods can have an impact on our sleep. It might prompt the production of insulin, which eventually shifts our circadian rhythm.
In addition, caffeine in chocolate, energy drinks, soda pop, tea, and coffee should also be avoided. This substance can block adenosine, a component that would naturally make you feel sleepy. If consumed excessively before the bedtime, it might cause insomnia. Also, caffeine increases the need for urination and cause disruptive nocturia.
In overall, it is recommended to have a meal at least 2 to hours before you go to bed. This will give your body enough time to digest the foods. Don’t forget to buy a good quality mattress with a waterproof mattress protector. If you still find difficult to fall asleep, it’s better to meet with a specialist to help you sleep better. Sometimes the medications or a wedge pillow might be needed to treat heartburn and prevent insomnia from happening.