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Going to Bed Hungry: Is it Bad for Your Health (and Your Sleep)?

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Going to Bed Hungry: Is it Bad for Your Health (and Your Sleep)?

August 21st, 2020

There are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about when we should go to sleep and if we should eat just before bed. To help you stay informed and make smart decisions, we want to break that information down.

The Effects of Going to Bed Hungry

Going to bed on an empty stomach might not seem like such a bad idea. After all, isn’t eating before bed bad for you? And if you go to sleep hungry, won’t that help you loose weight? Unfortunately, this isn’t always true and going to be hungry can have a serious impact on your health.

Restless Sleep

Letting your mind drift off to sleep should be easy, but if all you can think about is food, you may struggle to fall asleep. Even if you manage to sleep for a while, you might wake up feeling restless. This is because going to bed hungry drastically lowers the quality of your sleep, causing you to wake up throughout the night.

Restless sleep could also be a sign of an unsupportive mattress. If you eliminate all other options and you’re still experiencing restless sleep, it might be time to update your mattress.


Overindulgent Eating

Being hungry for an extended period can make you overindulge when you finally eat again. If you’re going to bed hungry, you’ll wake up hungry. You might have a larger breakfast than you normally would, which can completely cancel out any potential weight loss.

Less Energy

Sleep and food produce the energy we need to go about our day-to-day lives. This means if you’re not sleeping or eating enough, you’ll feel exhausted. By going to sleep hungry, you won’t have the necessary energy to jump out of bed and get started on your day.

How to Avoid Going to Sleep Hungry

Now that you know sleeping hungry is a bad idea, here’s how to avoid it:

Eat Protein-Rich Foods

By eating protein-rich foods, you should be able to prevent hunger before going to sleep. You don’t need to completely overhaul your diet, but if you can incorporate more protein into your meals (especially at dinnertime) you won’t wake up starving in the middle of the night.

We often think of protein-rich diets as containing a lot of meat, but that doesn’t have to be the case. While lean meat and eggs are full of protein, vegan options like tofu, nuts, seeds, and beans are also full of protein and great for your diet.

Scheduled Mealtimes

Eating at set times each day might sound boring, but it can be a great solution for dealing with sleep and hunger. If you regularly eat at a specific time, your body will grow accustomed to that schedule. This means your body won’t be expecting food at bedtime, so you can fall asleep without your belly rumbling from hunger.

Meal Prep

While meal prep might also lack spontaneity, it’s another great option to control your food intake and prevent sleeping while hungry. By preparing your food in advance, you can ensure that each meal has enough protein, carbs, and fats to keep you healthy and full. Meal prep can also help you avoid skipping meals, since you will have already prepared your dinner to be cooked and eaten at your preferred dinner time.

With these ideas to combat hunger, you can create a schedule and a dinner menu that will help you fall asleep without feeling hungry at night.

For more advice on how to get a good night’s sleep, check out our expert sleep tips here.