13 Nighttime Habits That Make You Gain Weight

It's more than likely that you're unknowingly practicing some bad nighttime habits that make you gain weight.
13 Nighttime Habits That Make You Gain Weight
Maricela Jiménez López

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Written by Lorena González

Last update: 11 July, 2022

It’s quite likely that you have certain nighttime habits that, without you even realizing it, make you gain weight. In fact, you may feel like you’re not overeating but find you’re still gaining weight.

If you want to take care of yourself and avoid unnecessarily piling on the pounds, take note of these nighttime habits that make you gain weight.

1. Sleeping Too Little

Not getting enough sleep can make you gain weight. In fact, according to a study conducted by several researchers from the University of Texas, it ends up slowing down your metabolism. Furthermore, it makes you hungrier and increases the amount of cortisol that your body produces.

Not enough sleep

You might also like to read: 11 Tips to Sleep Well and Wake Up Refreshed

We must also add that you’ll tend to exercise less because you’ll be tired. In fact, you should try to sleep between seven and eight hours every night.

2. Large dinners

Eating large dinners will also make you gain weight. That’s because if you eat too much in your last meal of the day, it slows down your digestion.

In addition, having dinner watching TV can also make you eat more as you don’t realize the amount of food you’re eating. It’s essential that you control it.

3. Going to bed after dinner

Going to sleep straight after dinner also doesn’t help. Indeed, this habit will make you accumulate more fat and slow down your digestion.

For this reason, you should have dinner an hour and a half to two hours before going to sleep. If you can’t, make sure you choose light and easily digestible foods.

4. Eating fried foods

Eating fried foods for dinner isn’t recommended as they contain calories you won’t burn off overnight. On the contrary, you’ll gain more fat and be unable to sleep well.

Fried foods.


It’s best to choose healthier options if you want to stay at the right weight. It’s okay to include some fats in your diet but they should be the healthy kind. For example, avocados, nuts, and eggs.

5. Eating spicy food in the evening

It’s also not recommended to include spicy food in your last meal of the day. Because if you go overboard with the spices, your digestion may suffer which will affect your rest.

In addition, since you’ll be spending many hours later without eating anything, they can cause heartburn. So avoid spicy foods at dinner and eat them at another time of day.

6. Eating Carbohydrates

The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy to your body. This is energy that, obviously, isn’t necessary while you’re sleeping. They also contain refined sugars that must be burned off immediately or they turn into fat.

Therefore, you should opt for foods that contain proteins and healthy fats. Accompany them with a good portion of vegetables in the form of salads and soups.

Here’s a good idea suggested by an experiment published in the Nutrition Journal. They proposed to several women that they snack on yogurt instead of consuming chocolate or crackers. The test results were clear.

The yogurt snack resulted in approximately 100 fewer kcal consumed at dinner, compared to crackers and chocolate.

7. Take care with dessert

Sugar and unrefined flour can accumulate in your cells in the form of fat. That’s why it’s not a good idea to eat them in the evening since you won’t burn them off. Instead, it’s much better to opt for fruit that’s naturally sweet.

If you want to give yourself a treat, have it at breakfast time or lunch. By doing this, you’ll be satisfying your craving without the risk of gaining so much weight.

8. Snacking

If you’ve already had dinner, sneaking back to the fridge or cupboard for extra snacks is definitely not a good idea. The only thing you’ll be doing is consuming more unnecessary calories that you won’t burn off overnight.

A woman snacking, one of the habits that make you gain weight.

You might be interested to read: Can Eating Dinner Make You Gain Weight?

You’ll also be creating extra energy that’ll keep you awake and be converted into extra weight. It’s better to have balanced dinners that fill you up.

9. Skipping dinner doesn’t help you lose weight

Skipping dinner isn’t a solution to losing weight. In fact, skipping this important meal will only get in the way of your weight loss, as it slows down your metabolism.

Furthermore, when you get to your next meal, you’ll feel hungrier, as explained in this article published in the International Journal of Obesity  What’s more, skipping dinner can increase food cravings, make you lose muscle, and gain fat.

10. Drinking alcohol or caffeine

Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they alter your sleep patterns and also contain calories. So the only thing you’ll achieve is to gain weight and sleep badly.

Drink coffee only in the morning

Instead, try a cup of warm milk or a glass of water. You could also try a vegetable drink like almond milk. Then you won’t feel like you’re missing out on your bedtime drink.

11. Using your cell phone and computer

The blue light and radio waves emitted by your cell phone and computer screens alter your sleep patterns. Ultimately, they can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

It’s best to disconnect from these two devices for at least an hour before you go to bed. Reading a book or listening to relaxing music will help you sleep better.

You might like to read: Is Sleeping Near Your Cell Phone Bad?

12. Going to bed really late

Going to bed after 1 a.m. can make you gain weight. That’s because it goes against your body’s natural rhythm. You’ll also end up wanting to eat something really early in the morning as it’ll be so long since you last ate.

Therefore, you’ll end up eating more calories than you should. You can avoid this by going to bed earlier.

13. Eating dinner on the couch watching TV

A really common mistake is to eat your dinner sitting on the sofa while you watch a movie or series. This is because your attention affects how you process food.

Being distracted while you eat means your brain isn’t able to adequately register the amount you eat. This practice also increases your tendency to chew food less, which makes digestion difficult and slows down your metabolism.

Another key factor is that if you eat your dinner on the couch, it increases the probability of you lying down after eating. This greatly increases the accumulation of fat in your abdomen. In addition, if you don’t pay enough attention to what you’re eating, there’s a greater risk you’ll want to snack later.

Change the nighttime habits that make you put on weight

Now that you know the most common habits that make you unintentionally gain weight, you can put an end to them. By doing this, you’ll get a better night’s sleep. At the same time, you won’t consume so many unnecessary calories.

Make sure you add these tips to a healthy routine and a balanced diet. Tomorrow, your body will thank you.

Main image courtesy of © wikiHow.com

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ortinau L, Hoertel H, Douglas S, Leidy H. Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13(1).
  • Jakubowicz D, Barnea M, Wainstein J, Froy O. High Caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women. Obesity. 2013;21(12):2504-2512.
  • Markwald R, Melanson E, Smith M, Higgins J, et al. Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013;110(14):5695-5700.
  • Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P, Alburquerque-Béjar J, Lee Y, et al. Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. International Journal of Obesity. 2013;37(4):604-611.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.