How many hours before bed you should stop eating?

If you are one of those ‘early to bed’/ ‘early to rise’ type of person, cutting off your food consumption may work for you. Nonetheless, if you are someone who stays awake every day until 11 or later, then not letting yourself eat after 6 pm will be very tough.

As it takes about three hours to digest a usual supper of about 600 calories, including some carbohydrates, protein, and veggies, after finishing your dinner around 6 pm, if you decide to stay up to do some household chores, or just to finish a tv show, by the time 9:30 hits, you will be feeling hunger aches.

Plenty of people attempt to resist it and end up losing the war, they surrender to a box of chocolates or a bowl of ice cream. The worst time to drool on calories is probably when you are about to go to bed, as you are not allowing yourself a chance to burn those extra calories.

Some benefits of eating before bed

It may not be the greatest idea for some people, but it can be beneficial for others.

It might curb nighttime eating and help weight loss. According to some evidence, if you eat a bedtime snack it may actually help you lose weight, rather than causing weight gain. If you tend to eat a large portion of your calories during the night, then having a snack after supper can help maintain your craving for a nighttime snack.

From a 4-week study of adults, who used to have nighttime snacks, they began to eat one bowl of cereal and milk after 90 minutes of dinner and had an average of 397 fewer calories per day.

Participants lost an average of 1.85 pounds from their change alone. If you like to have snacks at night, then this study tells you to add a small after-dinner snack, which will help you feel satisfied enough to eat less than you would otherwise. You might have the possible benefit of weight loss over time.

It might help you sleep better. Many people report that having something before bed helps them to get a night of better sleep or stops them from waking up hungry during the night.

It is very important to get enough sleep, as sleep deprivation itself has been linked to overeating and weight gain.

If you feel like eating something before bed will help you fall asleep sooner, then you should feel good about doing so.

How long before bed should you stop eating?

It is advised to wait for two to three hours between the last meal and bedtime. It will grant your body to occur digestion and the contents of your stomach will move into your small intestine. Problems like heartburn at night and even insomnia can be avoided by this.

If you lie down early it may cause the contents of your stomach to reflux into the esophagus, which will turn to heartburn or GERD symptoms. If you let this delay happen, it will weaken the likelihood of your heartburn signs. This issue will only occur if the stomach has not fully emptied by bedtime.

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Did you know?

If you have recently bought a new mattress, there is a so-called off-gassing process after packing it out. However, if you want your first slumber sooner than later, there are some tips to make this faster.

Risks of eating before sleep

We often hear from nutritionists, sleep experts, and fitness trainers that it is bad to eat before bed. Why?

Metabolism works slower at night

Some people say, your body’s metabolism decreases slightly while you sleep. If you eat anything before bed, it will be burned off more slowly, (though some experts tell that our metabolism is just as active while we sleep). As your body won’t burn off carbs like it does when you are awake, foods like pizza and pasta, no matter how delicious they might taste, eating them won’t be your best choices right before bed.

Indigestion and heartburn

Having a big meal before bed may cause you to experience indigestion or heartburn. Even if you are not dealing with upset stomach during day time usually, eating a lot and quickly getting inside your bed, laying horizontally could cause acid reflux, which is a sign of heartburn, nighttime asthma, and trouble swallowing. You need to divide your time between taking meals or snacks and bedtime so that your body has time to absorb before you crawl under your sheets.

If you have a chronic digestion problem you might get some helpful tips by reading another article of ours which will only take 5-6 minutes of your time. It might help you figure out which side will be best for you to lay on for digestion.

Meal size

Many people tend to become hungry in the evening, so they get in the habit of eating their biggest meal. It might begin the cycle of eating too much at night. When you go to bed, if you are so full, you won’t feel much hunger for breakfast, so you will have less food in the morning and a smaller lunch. When dinner time comes again, you will end up having more calories than you should.

Making unhealthy choices

Food choice is another disadvantage of nighttime snacks or meals. Instead of eating something healthy, people tend to have something unhealthy as a late-night snack, like chips, pizza, or cookies. Also, a popular nighttime snacking activity is sitting in front of the tv while enjoying your meal. If you are binge-watching your favorite show while reaching into a bag of chips repeatedly, you will be overeating.

Some tips to manage your nighttime eating

Brush your teeth

After finishing your meal, you have to go and brush your teeth as soon as you can, because the taste of peppermint doesn’t go well with whatever you had at dinner.

Take a break

According to studies, it takes about 20 minutes for your body and more importantly your brain to feel full, that’s why after eating you need to take a small break. You can go outside, water your plants, or just take a walk. Taking a short leave will give your body a chance to feel fulfilled, and it will prevent you from having more leftovers during your family chores.

Afternoon snack

If you get to know that you will have a late dinner, then you should have a snack in the late afternoon, with some carbs, protein, and veggies. Having snacks can take the edge off your desire for food, and you will have less supper, which will help your weight-loss achievement.

Increase light exposure during daytime

According to a study in older adults, two hours of bright light exposure during day boosted the amount of sleep by two hours and sleep efficiency by eighty percent.

Don’t have coffee late in the day

If you have caffeine late in the day it will stimulate your nervous system and might stop your body from naturally loosening up at night. After having a cup of coffee, the caffeine will stay elevated in your blood for six to eight hours. So, it is recommended that drinking large amounts of coffee after 3-4 pm is not good for your sleep.

Change your bad mattress

If your bed is not serving you well, there is a chance your sleep might get affected. Without a night of good sleep, your whole day can fall apart, as it may lead to indigestion, neck or shoulder pain, insomnia and so many more.

If you have finally realized that your mattress has gone bad, then just read our other article and follow those steps by which you will know how to make your uncomfortable mattress comfortable. If still nothing works then you will need to buy a new bed for you. It is recommended by experts that you should upgrade your bedding at least every 5-8 years.

Take a relaxing bath

According to studies a soothing shower can improve overall sleep quality and help older people to fall asleep faster.

If you don’t want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in warm water can help you relax and this will be an alternative solution for you.


After all this, there is a chance for you to still feel a little bit confused about whether or not eating before bed is a good or bad idea. You probably won’t get a definitive solution. As everyone is different, you need to maintain the eating schedule which is proper for your body and lifestyle. Things that work for your partner might do something opposite to you. Your eating schedule can easily be different than your best friend. Whether you want your late-night meal or you prefer to maintain the three-hour rule, you have to try and make healthy decisions, so that you can get your best, quiet sleep and remain healthy.

To concise what we have discussed above are given below:

  • Some benefits of eating before bed
  • How long before bed should you stop eating?
  • Risks of eating before sleep
  • Some tips to manage your nighttime eating and sleeping


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