Going to bed hungry is a tactic that people commonly use when they are trying to lose weight. The basic idea is relatively straightforward. By not eating before bed, people believe that their bodies will continue to burn calories all night long, helping them lose weight as they sleep.
As it turns out, it isn’t quite that simple. Not only does going to bed on an empty stomach rarely result in weight loss but it also can cause a number of other problems. The section below outlines three of the primary reasons why you shouldn’t go to bed hungry:
Hunger can disrupt your sleep.
Going to bed with nothing in your stomach can make it a lot harder to sleep. Instead of peacefully dozing off, you may lay awake tossing and turning, listening to your stomach growling while you dream about your favorite snacks.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should eat a huge meal right before bed. Eating too much food is equally as problematic since having a lot of food in your stomach can lead to problems like heartburn and indigestion. You should, however, consider having a small snack.
When deciding what to eat, think about which foods are easiest for you to digest. Avoid foods that are spicy or rich, opting instead for light, bland foods. Ideally, you should choose something that has a lot of protein in it. The protein will leave you feeling satisfied even if you don’t have a lot to eat.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain.
For many people, the whole point of going to bed without eating is to lose weight. Unfortunately, that plan can easily backfire.
Laying awake feeling hungry all night can keep you from getting the sleep that you need. Interestingly, researchers have found that there is a link between not getting enough sleep and gaining weight. That means that not eating before bed could wind up causing you to gain weight by keeping you from getting enough sleep.
A better option is to snack on something light but satisfying before bed. A handful of nuts, a cup of yogurt, or a small bowl of cereal can keep you feeling full during the night, making it easier to sleep. Best of all, these snacks don’t have a lot of calories, meaning that they shouldn’t ruin your diet. You may be surprised to find that getting more sleep is more effective at keeping you from gaining weight than cutting back on food before bed.
Hunger can lead to overeating the following day.
When you feel hungry, you are far more likely to overeat. If you go to bed with an empty stomach, you may feel extremely hungry when you wake up in the morning. That can make it hard to exercise self-control around food early in the day.
As a result, you may make poor food choices during breakfast, opting for unhealthy foods like donuts or eating a lot more than you need to. This can cause your blood sugar to spike early in the day. As your blood sugar drops back down, it can leave you feeling hungry, making you reach for a midmorning snack. This cycle can continue throughout the day, making it a lot harder to stick to a healthy eating plan.
On the other hand, if you have a snack before bed, you are less likely to wake up feeling ravenous. This makes it a lot easier to make smart food choices early in the day. By eating a small, healthy breakfast, you are less likely to experience sudden spikes or drops in your blood sugar level. This makes it easier to avoid snacking during the day.
This should give you a better idea of some of the main reasons why you shouldn’t go to bed hungry. Even though you shouldn’t eat a lot of food before bed, it is a good idea to have a small snack – especially if you aren’t feeling satisfied. A healthy snack can not only make it easier for you to fall asleep but it also can keep you from overeating the following day. By improving the quality of your sleep, snacking before bed can also help keep you from gaining weight as a result of sleep deprivation.