Is It Bad To Sleep After You Eat?

There is a common saying: “Don’t sleep right after a meal!” and mothers love drilling this in with their kids. Is it a myth? Is there more to this claim? Most people will assume it’s true and indeed it is. Eating after you sleep does have consequences.


Here is more on the topic.

Connection Between Sleeping And Eating

Why do people want to sleep after eating? Well, studies have shown fatigue sets in after a large meal. It’s the reason people have an urge to head to bed right away.

The best thing to do is to eat at a time where sleeping does not seem appropriate. Instead, it is better to eat dinner at 6 PM, so there’s time to relax and lounge for a bit before heading to bed.


Now, let’s take a look at the consequences of sleeping right after a large meal. What will the body go through?

1) Heartburn

This is a prominent concern for older individuals. Eating a large meal and heading to bed is asking for trouble. Heartburn becomes a reality because the digestive system is still working hard to digest the food. The stomach releases acids to help with this and while it’s unnoticeable when standing up, when a person lies down, it becomes troubling.


The heartburn is difficult to manage and feels uncomfortable. This can lead to prolonged stages of not being able to sleep at night. Instead of letting this happen, it’s best to avoid eating meals before going to sleep and letting the stomach’s acids go to work earlier in the day. The impact of heartburn is doubled when lying down.

Take advantage of an earlier meal because it will eradicate this consequence in most cases.

2) Acid Reflux

This fits in snugly with the first consequence.

Acid reflux is a major concern for individuals around the world and it often comes back to eating before going to bed. The valve between your stomach and esophagus is supposed to close so the digestive process can begin. When you’re lying down, this doesn’t happen, and the valve remains open and the stomach’s acid starts rushing up the esophagus.

This is uncomfortable and painful in most cases. A person will find it hard to go to sleep once the acid reflux settles in.

It’s important to remember that acid reflux can have a number of additional medical concerns associated with it.

3) Stroke


This is a life-threatening medical issue and one which can be triggered by eating before going to sleep.

The question is, how can a stroke be brought on by lying down after eating? Well, studies have shown participants who were prone to getting a stroke increased their risk by eating before sleeping. The reason involved an onset of sleep apnea.

Since the body works hard to digest food, it is unable to manage the rest of one’s body which adds up over time. This may lead to a stroke in patients who are prone to it.

4) Heart Rate Rises Due To Metabolic Rise

The ultimate consequence comes through one’s metabolic and heart rates increasing. It is important to have these remain low while you’re resting.

If not, the body won’t be able to calm down, and this is going to make it impossible to sleep.

By eating before going to sleep, you’re telling the body it’s time to kick the heart rate up and digest the foods being consumed. However, you’re also hoping it’s easier to sleep while this takes place and that’s where the mistake is made.

By giving these mixed signals, the body’s heart rate rises rapidly, and it becomes difficult to sleep at all.


In the end, sleeping immediately after eating is a bad choice and not something people should be contemplating. It can be easy to eat a large dinner and head to bed in a state of fatigue. Many people think this is a smart idea, but the consequences listed state otherwise.

It is smarter to stay patient and eat well in advance.

This is why setting a schedule can be a good idea. If a person eats their large meal 3-4 hours before going to sleep, this is a non-issue, and that’s what you should be aiming for.

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