Stephanie D. Murillo
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Is It Unhealthy To Eat Dinner Very Late?

Do you have ever experienced heartburn or bloated feeling after eating too much or too close to your bedtime? It is a common problem of lots of people these days. The main reason of this health issue is to eat dinner very late.

Like many other things, our lifestyle has also evolved in recent decades. Now people have more hectic life because of longer working hours. And that’s why most of the people skip their breakfast and also eat dinner very late just before going to sleep. It is a little bit reality that when you eat too much or too close to your sleeping time, it can be dangerous for you.

Eating before going to sleep can pose various health problems, and one of the most common is obesity and acid reflux. In this situation, you can’t properly digest the food which not only disturbs your stomach but also becomes a cause of some gastric problems. Therefore, it is recommended that you should eat dinner three hours before your sleeping time and always prefer to consume healthy and light food that can be easily digested. Moreover, it has also been suggested that if you feel cravings late night, then you should eat low-fat and low-sugar snacks before bedtime because they can improve your sleep and keep you fresh the next morning.

Why Is It Bad to Eat too Close Your Bedtime?

In a 2014 article in the New York Times, an expert New York City Physician reported that the number of people with acid reflux has increased significantly in recent decades in the US. It has been affected more than 40% Americans. Acid reflux can trigger several health problems, from heartburn and cough to difficulty swelling, hoarseness, chronic throat clearing, postnasal drip, asthma and esophageal cancer.

One of the most crucial factors that can lead to these symptoms is poor diet, such as a huge consumption of soft drinks, sugar alcoholic drinks, and processed foods. There is another important variable that has been unnoticed, our dinner time.

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She said, lots of people don’t do breakfast and eat only a sandwich at lunch. Thus, the evening meal becomes the largest meal of the day. But most of them consume their evening meal increasingly later because of long working hours and after-work activities, such as shopping and exercise. Moreover, after consuming heavy meal too late at night, they sit on their sofa or bed to watch TV. It becomes more dangerous for them because sitting and lying down on a full stomach can increase the acid reflux. She also advised that you should not eat after 8 pm or within three hours of bedtime.

image credit by myhealthtips

The Dangers of Eating Late at Night:

The period between dinner and bedtime is the danger zone for humans. It’s the time of day you get to relax, and many people like to eat their favorite snacks to enjoy the simple pleasure of doing nothing. But a lot of studies have revealed that eating before going to sleep can be a serious cause of various health problems. The reason is that eating late at night gives our body immediate energy, and we don’t need it at this time. Therefore, it can pose the risk of development of following diseases.

  • Sleep Disturbance

If you don’t fall asleep soundly or have a difficult time staying asleep, give attention to your eating habits before becoming the addictive of the sleeping pills. A big meal before your bedtime may keep you awake because it can disturb your stomach. In this case, you can consume a modest-size snack, like fiber-rich cereal with milk; it’ll help you sleep better.

image credit by thefitindian
  • Heartburn

Going to bed instantly after a heavy meal can interrupt your sleep and also lead to heartburn. You should avoid eating heavy or unhealthy foods before going to sleep. For example, spicy and greasy foods may give you a bloated feeling which disturbs your digestive tract and keep you away from falling asleep in the night. Low-fat yogurt with fruit and whole-grain toast with peanut butter or lean turkey are recommended for late night cravings as they contain protein and carbohydrates which promote relaxation at the time of sleeping.

  • Weight Gain
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Eating more calories than you need makes you gain weight, whether you eat them too close or early to bedtime. Many people who eat high-calorie foods such as potato chips or ice cream before going to bed are at the higher risk of weight gain. Moreover, overeating at night not only disrupts your sleep but also increases your appetite the next day. So, to minimize these risks, you should make a habit of healthy and balanced eating throughout each day. If you feel hungry or restless before going to sleep, prefer to eat healthy food, such as a banana with almond butter or oatmeal.

  • Diabetes

Diabetes is another serious threat for those who eat dinner very late. According to some studies, eating something wrong too close to bedtime can trigger high blood sugar in the morning. Therefore, if you feel hungry late at night, incorporate with a sugar-free, low-calorie snack like baby carrots or gelatin. These options will satisfy your night cravings while having a minor impact on your body. For a more pleasing option, you can eat a protein-rich meal, such as cottage cheese with a fiber-rich carbohydrate source, like whole grain crackers.

image credit by paralelo32
  • Memory Damage

According to new research, eating dinner closely before bedtime can lead to memory damage. The reason is that when you snack late night and asleep, you have reduced levels of a protein named CREB, which assists the body’s internal clock and the brain’s ability to create memories. In this way, it affects your long-term memory; therefore, you should eat dinner early before going to bed.

  • GERD and Acid Reflux

The American Academy of Otolaryngology suggests that if you’ve gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), then you should avoid eating for three hours before bed. When you immediately lay down to sleep after eating, it raises stomach acids and heartburn, making GERD symptoms worse. But allowing the three-hour time span between dinner and bed, you give your stomach time to get on with its work and settle down.

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Foods to Avoid Before Going to Sleep

Do you often feel craving at night and eat any unhealthy snack? Be aware!! It can be harmful to your health because your ‘eating before going to sleep’ choices aren’t always good.  Here is a list of food groups you must avoid consuming late at night.

  • Too much of any food
  • Fried foods, Potato chips or unhealthy fats
  • High dairy products like ice cream
  • Rice, Grains and Bread products
  • High sugar alcoholic drinks
  • Pretzels, crackers, and cookies

These foods might be satisfying in the moment, but they also contain a rich amount of calories that can lead to weight gain or other health problems.

Image creidt by porcelainfacespa
Image creidt by porcelainfacespa

Food to Eat Before Going to Sleep

According to some studies, enough night sleep plays an important role in maintaining your overall health and well-being. It makes you happy, your facial skin glowing and younger, your brain sharp, your waistline slim and your immune system strong. That’s why; you should eat a healthy diet to fall asleep soundly. Before going to bed, you should try consuming sleep-inducing foods, such as salmon, cherries, spinach, whole grains, lentils, and peanut butter, etc. To know more the foods that can help you sleep, click here.

food to eat before going to sleep
Image credit by choosecherrie


To minimize the risks of these chronic health problems, you should stop eating very late at night. Here are some simple ways to stop eating before bed; they will help you keep yourself healthy and hearty. Take a look at them!

  • Do your workouts in the early morning.
  • Consume 5-6 small meals all over the day.
  • Don’t bring junk foods into your home.
  • Make a habit of not eating after a certain time at night.
  • Eat healthy fats, protein, and lots of fresh vegetables at dinner time.


Stephaine D. Murillo is a Dubai-based American professional nutritionist who tells the secrets of a healthy and longer life. She is ambitious to find the significant benefits of a nutritional and balanced diet. She guides food lovers about the health benefits and drawbacks of vegetables, fruits and other types of food. She loves to share information about food & health through Papaorder Blog. So, subscribe Papaorder blog to get her health & food tips.

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