Is It Bad To Sleep After Eating?

Have you ever hit a bed right after eating because you feel so sleepy? It seems to be comfortable for us to do so during our busy days. However, you may sometimes feel something not right in your stomach when doing this. Moreover, many medical experts have warned us about the potential danger of this action.

That’s why we are going to find the awaited answer to the question “Is It Bad To Sleep After Eating?” in this article. In addition to unveiling the reasons, we will give you some tips on having a healthy pre-sleep meal!  

Is It Bad To Sleep After Eating? And Why?

The answer is YES. Hitting the bed after eating is really bad for you, regardless of lunch or dinner. Even you eat a full course meal or just a snack, resting after eating is totally unhealthy. It is true that you may feel sleepy after eating. But when you go to sleep, your body is not in the right position to digest food. Therefore, many risks are likely to appear. Here are a few consequences of sleeping after eating:

Digestive Diseases

The most apparent consequence is digestive problems. As we mentioned beforehand, food should be digested in an upright position, and lying is definitely not. When you lie down after eating, the acid level in your stomach increases. This condition is called acid reflux. And remember, if you encounter it more than twice a week, you may have GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). 

Heartburn And Belching

Heartburn is a usual symptom of acid reflux. It happens as the excessively produced acids flow towards the chest. The flow can even move up to your throat, causing a burning sensation. Further consequences for your throat are likely to appear if you don’t treat this problem appropriately. 

Additionally, you may experience excessive burping, or known as belching – a condition when you release air from the stomach through the mouth. You surely don’t want to get into this annoying circumstance, do you?


Another disease caused by sleeping after eating is stroke. As we said before, resting is not an appropriate position to digest food. Therefore, your digestive system is forced to function extra hard. That’s why the risk of blood sugar levels and blood pressure are likely to increase, leading to a heart stroke.

Another finding between stroke and digestion is the correlation between acid reflux and sleep apnea. According to a study, people who go to bed four to five hours after eating are less likely to have a stroke. The result implies that acid reflux is somehow associated with sleep apnea. And as National Stroke Foundation stated, sleep apnea can be the origin of a first-time or regular stroke.

Restless Night

If you encounter heartburn or burping at night, you will hardly have a restful night’s sleep, won’t you? Besides, pieces of evidence are showing that eating too close to bedtime actually makes it harder to sleep. The timing of food consumption affects your sleep patterns, especially during the nighttime. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleeping after eating is also associated with nightmares. A pre-bedtime meal can increase your metabolism, thus making your brain more active. Therefore, if you usually experience bad dreams, take a look at your after-dinner snacks. If not, avoid eating a heavy meal before hitting the bed. 

Weight Gain

Almost everyone assumes that eating before bed can lead to weight gain. In fact, it is not exactly right. Obesity depends on caloric intake. In other words, what and how much you eat is more important than when you eat. However, if you sleep right after you eat, the possibility of weight gain is high due to higher caloric consumption. During the days, you have to do exercises to burn off the calories. And of course, you cannot do it when sleeping. 

How Long You Should Wait Between A Night Meal And Bedtime

So, the new question is how long you should eat before bedtime. The answer largely depends on the amount and types of food that you consume. Normally, the recommended length of time is 2 – 4 hours before sleeping. But if you still feel full in the stomach, don’t lie down yet. Some food is super hard to be completely digested, like fried or processed food.

What You Should And Should Not Eat Before Bed

In some circumstances, when you still want some food after dinner, you can take a light snack to ease your hunger. The best option is to choose food that is digestible and low-calorie, especially in just a small portion. The recommended list of pre-sleep snacks includes:

  • A glass of milk
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Blueberry
  • Kiwis
  • Cherries
  • High-fiber cereal
  • Avocado
  • Raw carrots
  • Nutritionally balanced supplement drinks such as Athletic Greens

In addition, you need to stay away from certain kinds of food that harm your deep sleep. Acidic food, like tomatoes, oranges, lemons, citrus, grapefruit, might be a real nuisance to your stomach. Reflux and heartburn are easily triggered by a variety of food, such as deep-fried food, fast food, chocolate, alcohol. 

Even coffee is not something you should often drink as caffeine is an acid stimulating factor. Sometimes you may have a cup of coffee to stay focused. If you do not want to have a restless night, or known as insomnia, it is better not to consume coffee too close to bedtime.

Last Words

So far, we have found a satisfactory answer to the question “Is It Bad To Sleep After Eating?”. In the busy lives today, you may sometimes forget the adequate period between meals and sleep. However, you should never underestimate it as it is the cause of various health risks. Besides the time, what to eat matters to your health and sleep quality as well. 

We hope that through our post, you can understand how to build a healthy habit for your meal and sleep. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!