Which Is Better to Sleep on: a Full or Empty Stomach?

· November 9, 2014
We've all wondered if it's best to eat or not before going to bed. Here we'll put the doubt to rest.

Some people are in favor of this and others are against it, which causes many debates. Is it better to sleep on a full stomach or an empty one? In reality, neither of these extremes are good. Find out more in the following article.

Sleeping on an Empty Stomach: What to Know

Many people think that going to bed without eating is a good way to lose weight, but that is not true. Food is necessary for a proper sleep. There is nothing worse than getting woken up because the noises from your stomach won’t let you sleep.

This belief is based on the hypothesis that “whatever you eat for dinner makes you fat”. This is why people think that going to bed without eating is better.

However, the empty feeling will make you devour anything in the fridge in the morning. Or you might wake up in the middle of the night for a “midnight snack”. This isn’t good for your body because instead of eating an apple, you will probably want some leftovers or something fried.

Better to sleep on an empty stomach?

The way the human body works can tell you what the best habits to follow are. Going to bed hungry or without eating guarantees a night without shut-eye or sleeping very poorly. The next day, the consequences will be much worse, especially if you do this every day.

So, as they always say, extremes aren’t good. What professionals suggest is eating and letting a few hours go by once you finish dinner before sleeping. 

If it is already too late to eat dinner, don’t make the mistake of not having something to eat. Instead go for lighter food, like soups, yogurt with cereal, tea with toast, etc. But under no circumstances should you go to bed on an empty stomach.

What to do before going to sleep

Studies say that the amount of time you should wait between eating and going to bed is an hour and a half. During this lapse, you can use it to wash dishes, read, study, watch a little bit of television (but not too much), chat with your spouse, clean your house, prepare your outfit for the next day. A dinner rich in carbohydrates and low in protein is best. Stay away from saturated fat, because they just make your digestion slower, as well as cause gas and discomfort while trying to sleep.

Better to sleep after a carb rich dinner

If you get home late from work or school, and you ask yourself if you should eat dinner this late or if it’s better to sleep and just “push through it”, don’t. Eat something light, but never go to bed with an empty stomach. Scientific studies say that this can cause sleep loss and problems in decomposing muscle mass at night.

Being hungry makes your brain stay alert. When you don’t sleep enough, your metabolism is reduced and Ghrelin levels increase. Ghrelin levels refer to a hormone that stimulates appetite and causes you to wake up and eat more, without measuring the quantities or what you are eating. So, it’s better to sleep without that hungry feeling.

Going to bed without eating, or hungry, causes you to sleep less and is bad if you want to build muscle. When your body is deprived of nutrients for a long time, it breaks muscles to get energy. If you want to lose weight, it isn’t a good idea to not eat at night or skip meals.

Our diet impacts our sleep

We recommend you read:

14 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better

The Disadvantages of Sleeping on a Full Stomach

So, is it better to sleep on a full stomach? On the other extreme, there are some people who stuff themselves with food at dinner and then go to bed feeling as if they weight 10 pounds more. When you fill yourself with food, it accumulates in your stomach. The stomach is the organ in charge of producing enzymes and acids for digestion.

Blood goes directly to this area and can make you feel like sleeping. However, you should wait a moderate amount of time before going to bed. Whether you are watching television or reading, it doesn’t matter. It’s better to sleep after a few hours have passed after eating.

What to eat before going to bed

Eating a lot and going to bed right away not only causes overweight but also acidity, problems falling asleep, nightmares, etc. But be careful, because dinner by itself doesn’t make you fatter. It depends on the amount and the food that you eat at night. Nutritionists say that it’s best to stop eating carbohydrates at least four hours before going to bed and to wait at least two hours between dinner and bedtime.

Your metabolism is slower at night. Digestion takes longer. This causes gas because of the increase in food fermentation in the intestines, etc. Resting after you eat is necessary but it is not the same as sleeping. Sit comfortably on the sofa to talk, read, or watch television before going to bed.

Getting-off-to-sleep

We recommend you read:

The Best and Worst Foods for Your Digestion

So, what’s better to sleep well?

Experts say that there is no problem with taking a bath before eating as long as the water isn’t too hot and you don’t spend too long in the bath. 

What is prohibited is swimming. This is because there is a competition between the digestive system’s muscles and that of inferior and superior organs. That is the reason you tend to cramp when exercising after you eat.

Going to bed immediately after eating dinner increases your possibilities of suffering from reflux. Especially if you had several dishes or if the food was high in calories and fats. This causes it to be difficult to fall asleep and sleeping problems.

It’s best to eat more fruits and vegetables at night and leave out sugar, fried foods, and flour.