Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Time difference between Eating & Sleeping

  1. Dec 25, 2007 #1
    I have heard this debate for a long time.. some ppl say that there needs to be a time difference of atleast 2 hrs. between when you eat and when you go to sleep or take rest. Basically, what they say is that after eating, a person should not lie down or essentially not go to sleep for atleast 2 hrs., as it causes fat deposition as the food gets converted to fats immediately. Is it really a bad practice to go to sleep immediately after eating. How adverse can the effects of it be? Is there any documented article available on this issue?

    If it is true, I don't understand what "food getting converted to fats" means. Isn't food supposed to get converted into fats [among other things] after digestion? How can taking rest alter the digestive process, in particular the absorption process? Does it, like, slow down the process or something? Even if does slow down, it doesn't essentially mean that the fat depositions should increase.

    I'd be thankful if u could clarify.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2007 #2

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  4. Jan 26, 2008 #3
    Now, after eating a big meal you won't sleep well if you go to bet right away :smile:
  5. Jan 27, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's not true, and I don't know how you got to that point from the statement you quoted.

    What the statement you quoted is basically saying is that if you're sleep-deprived, you're going to be craving more snacks because you aren't getting the hormonal signals that say you're satiated.

    I have not seen anything to back up claims you shouldn't eat before going to sleep. It may be more of a diet advice for people who are overly sedentary and eat too many snacks...a behavioral trick to get them to eat a little less or get a little more exercise and burn off some calories before going to sleep after a large meal.
  6. Jan 27, 2008 #5
    Well, it just works this way in my case. I eat quite a lot and I don't even have to try to go to sleep within two hours of eating dinner. If you don't eat a lot, then presumably this isn't a problem. But your body needs to work hard to process big meals. You can clearly see this if you measure your heart rate before and after a big meal. When I was a bit younger I used to work out a lot and eat even more than today. My resting heart rate was about 38 beats per minute. During training it would be about 160 beats per minute (I trained twice per day for twenty minutes). After training the heart rate would go down rapidly to below 50 beats per minute. But after a big meal it could rise to around 55 beats per minute.
  7. Jan 27, 2008 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's a flaw in using anectdotal/personal evidence rather than controlled studies to answer questions.

    There is, however, a risk for cardiovascular risks in shift workers eating late at night:

    Postprandial is the term for after meals. If you're interested in more scientific studies on these effects, that is the term to use in your searches.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook