Is It Bad To Eat Before Bed?

So it’s late at night and it’s about that time to go to sleep.  You’re belly starts to grumble and you’re thinking to yourself, that pizza in the fridge would be real good right about now.  But you think to yourself and ask the question, is it bad to eat before bed?


Well, the answer to this question isn’t as simple as saying yes or no.  Many people are told that if you eat before bed, then it will lead to weight gain.

I will try to go over some of the reasons why that may not always be the case.

The Big Debate

When trying to discover the truth to this, it really depends on the individual.  Most people fear that eating late at night leads to weight gain, but if you really think about, the body doesn’t know what time it is.  There are many healthy people that eat late at night and it has no affect on their weight.

At the same time, if you asked people who are overweight, how often do they have a meal before going to bed, many of them would probably say yes.  So you can see why it may be easy to get confused as there are supporting evidence for both sides.

Sleep And Metabolism

One reason eating before bed could prove costly is from studies showing how metabolism does slow down during sleep.  Which would suggest that a slow metabolism could lead to weight gain.  There are many theories for why this happens.

Some would say that the body needs energy to build muscle and repair itself from the stresses put on the body throughout the day.  So it needs to conserve energy so that it may focus on doing just that.

Based on this information, it is easy to conclude that if metabolism slows down during rest, then you should not be eating right before bed.  Unfortunately it is not as simple as that, as bad habits seem to be more of an issue.

Developing Bad Habits Can Lead To Weight Gain

Many diet plans suggest that you shouldn’t eat after a certain time at night because it can lead to weight gain. This isn’t because your metabolism slows down, but because the wrong type of food is usually chosen late at night.

Add to the fact that while you are eating, you are most likely watching television.  This all creates bad habits, which can lead to weight gain.  

Those that live a sedentary lifestyle, tend to not be as active and consume the wrong types of food.

If you are someone that is active and choose healthier options, then eating a late night snack may not affect you as much compared to someone making unhealthy food choices.

What Should You Eat Before Bed?

For most people, it should be ok to have a light snack before going to bed.  Where people tend to get into trouble is when they make a large meal or some type of dessert the late night meal of choice.  

Although eating right before bed doesn’t necessarily cause you to gain weight, eating foods that are high in sugars and fats will cause your calorie intake to go up.

Avoid Junk foods

Try to stay away from foods such as chips, ice cream or cake.  These foods are high in sugar and empty calories.  They can also trigger cravings which will cause you to overeat, and therefore have you exceed your daily calorie needs.  If your sweet tooth is calling and you are in need of something to eat, try going for maybe a banana or apple.

Stick to Whole Grains

Try having a peanut butter sandwich before going to bed since you are combining good complex carbs along with protein and healthy fats.  

This will provide your body with good energy as you fall asleep and may even help you sleep better through the night.


Although eating before bed will not necessarily cause weight gain, forming bad habits will.  It is more about what you eat rather than when you eat as the body is unaware of what time it is.  

If you find yourself hungry and you really need something in your belly before heading off to bed, then make sure it is light and healthy.

I hope you found this article helpful in your choice for what to eat during those late nights.  As always, don’t be afraid to share below your thoughts on how you fight those late night cravings.

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