How Long Should You Wait To Sleep After Eating? The Genuine Truth
How long should you wait to sleep after eating? This is a timely question in the face of increasing deaths due to sudden nocturnal death syndrome. This is mostly caused by overeating before bedtime. Yes, some may not know it, but there are thousands of people who go to sleep apparently normal but are declared dead the following morning because they was not aware of this fact.
You have to know the answer to the question, so that you can avoid such an untimely death that could happen to you or your loved ones. How many hours should you wait after dinner before you can go to bed? This will be answered in this post. But first, you have to learn some basic information.
What Happens Right after a Meal?
Right after you have crammed food into your stomach, it takes time for the food to get digested and metabolized. If your stomach is full and you have eaten lots of fats and carbohydrates, and then taken in alcoholic beverages as well, the food won’t be metabolized easily. Here’s what happens after your meal:
- Chewing the food that enters your mouth will reduce the sizes of the food particles
- It goes down into your stomach where protein is digested in the presence of hydrochloric acid
- It moves to the small intestines where complete digestion of fats and carbohydrate occur
It takes at least two hours for carbohydrates, such as bread, potato, rice and pasta foods to get digested and metabolized. After two hours, the concentration of glucose that comes from the carbohydrates that you have eaten would be back to normal. The glucose levels usually spikes 30 minutes to one hour after a meal.
Meanwhile, fatty foods take longer to digest. Hence, it’s not advisable to eat too much fat in the night. Fat is one of the main causes of obesity and overweight, especially if you don’t exercise.
Additionally, it has been observed that people who have eaten a fatty meal are more prone to sudden nocturnal death syndrome. They have gone to sleep without a serious illness, and then in the morning, their relatives found them dead. It’s also called the Brugada Syndrome.
In Thailand, it has been reported that there are 26 to 40 prevalence of death among 100,000 men population. Japan has the same rate of prevalence among young men. The deaths can be caused by heart failure, strokes, or arrhythmias.
Based on these stats, it’s recommended that you should not eat a heavy meal before going to bed. It’s also advisable to eat fiber-rich food and less fats and carbohydrates. You should also avoid alcohol and coffee.
So, let’s now answer the question: “How long should you wait to sleep after eating?”
Answer: At least 2 to 4 hours
You must also remain awake during this time and not lying down. You can walk around, sit, or do some stretches. You should be physically active during that span of time. You can do any light physical activity - except lying down. Thus, wait for at least 2 hours before lying down on your bed and sleeping.
However, take note that you should not exercise an hour before going to bed because you might have difficulty in sleeping.
I have answered the question: “How long should you wait to sleep after eating?” I have also presented the major reason why it’s not recommended to sleep right after eating - sudden nocturnal death syndrome can happen. Furthermore, you must eat a light dinner to facilitate the digestion of the food that you have taken in.
Observing the 2-hour minimum time after a meal would ensure that you don’t suffer any ill effects of overstuffing yourself with food or alcohol. Stay healthy by observing this simple rule. Remember to pass on this crucial information to your family and friends.