1

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Eating before bedtime

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 20, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Does anyone have any information, personal experience is fine, regarding eating before bedtime. More specifically, I'm looking into getting enough food for the day vs. eating too close to bedtime. On some of my fasted training days (leangaines-ish approach) I go to work, come home, hit the gym and then cook my PWO meal to break my fast. The problem I'm running into is that by the time I finish eating, it's just about my bedtime. I'm wondering how much this is negatively affecting me. I've considered altering my schedule, yes, but sometimes this isn't always an option. So when presented with this scheduling scenario, how would some of you best navigate?

Things I've considered:

Staying up longer to let food digest, but then I compromise sleep, 6 hrs instead of 8-9.

Not training fasted.. almost done leaning out, could be an option during maintenance phase.

Not eating as much, less food going into storage while I sleep, but I think it far more important to be well fed / nourished, especially PWO.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on April 21, 2011
at 07:01 PM

Thanks for the breakdown.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 21, 2011
at 06:31 AM

ha! hence why I'm responding to this at 2:30 am!

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 21, 2011
at 06:28 AM

so what if i've lived on a different schedule than most of main-stream-america for most of my life...i.e. - my 8pm is actually your 12am, and your 7am alarm clock goes off at 12pm for me? I'm a bartender and a rock musician, i go out, i socialize i eat late and i sleep late. am i screwed? or can i compensate for my late hours and adjust this recommended schedule accordingly?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 11:07 PM

Dinner and breakfast should be the highest protein and fat meals......lunch is where you should eat your higher carb contents. Me I avoid all insulinogenic carbs. And yes dairy is a big one. The GI of milk/slim milk is close to 150. Fermented dairy GI are much lower.....like swiss cheese at 50 which i think is OK.....but would I eat cheese at dinner or before bed......hell no. It goes against our biology. And yes since I test patients blood every three months I think I have a pretty good idea the science I read is the same science i treat in patients.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 11:03 PM

Todd......then I would say don't eat dinner. Eat larger portions at breakfast and lunch the following days.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 11:02 PM

5-7 PM then plan to be in darkness by ten PM on most nights. This revs the system. To jump start it......do weight bearing exercises right before bed like push ups or pull ups to get to fat burning even quicker. If you eat a bite of a cracker you have screwed your circadean rhythm up for night time fat burning for close to two weeks. Sleep is as important as what you eat. The timing of when you eat is as important as what you eat. If you focus only on the fuel you miss out on why you definitely will hit more plateaus. 2 or 3 meals is critical. You don't need any more.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 10:59 PM

and stage four sleep. After the leptin does its deed, Melatonin levels stop and allow prolactin levels to rise and set the stage for GH release that also occurs late in the sleep cycle. GH release is when the greatest gains occur in brain redox reactions and sensitize the brain to leptin centrally and in the muscles. This is why obese and unfit people are never ripped and are more likely diagnosed with sleep apnea. They never get to stage 3 or 4 sleep. Here is the take home message.....never eat a large carb load before bed because of insulin effects on leptin signalling. Moreover, eat

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 10:54 PM

ok here goes....When you eat past 8 you completely hinder the normal effect of leptin entering the hypothalamus. And if you eat anything that has an insulinogenic spike you have hammered yourself for 10-14 metabolically. Here is why. post dinner cortisol is at its lowest.....when you eat there is a biphasic insulin spike that ends 2-3 hrs after eating. When Insulin's second peak ends that is when leptin rises steadily until 12 midnight to 1 AM. It enters the hypothalamus (if the person is leptin sensitive) and allows the thyroid to burn at a higher set point thru UCP3 only in stage three

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Dr K. your response is along the lines of what I'm looking for. But what if my bedtime is say 830? and I'm not able to eat until 730 - 800.. This is my point. On days like that, I fight the idea of being well fed / not cramming my food in and then jumping into bed.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:49 PM

I don't think it digestion stops completely, but I would guess that it is less than ideal or optimal.

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Can you go into more detail? I "IF" Mon-Thurs for roughly 24hrs... my only meal is the PWO after BJJ...

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:36 PM

Why do you think that your body stops digesting food while you sleep/ eating before bed is negative? I eat one large meal after BJJ Mon-Thurs, usually 9-10pm then off to bed...I have not not noticed any negatives from this schedule.

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8 Answers

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:44 PM

This is one of my axiomatic rules now to my own patients.....never eat past 8 PM no matter what. If you cant IF til breakfast. The main reason is the effect on leptin signalling that occurs 3-5 hours later.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Dr K. your response is along the lines of what I'm looking for. But what if my bedtime is say 830? and I'm not able to eat until 730 - 800.. This is my point. On days like that, I fight the idea of being well fed / not cramming my food in and then jumping into bed.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 11:07 PM

Dinner and breakfast should be the highest protein and fat meals......lunch is where you should eat your higher carb contents. Me I avoid all insulinogenic carbs. And yes dairy is a big one. The GI of milk/slim milk is close to 150. Fermented dairy GI are much lower.....like swiss cheese at 50 which i think is OK.....but would I eat cheese at dinner or before bed......hell no. It goes against our biology. And yes since I test patients blood every three months I think I have a pretty good idea the science I read is the same science i treat in patients.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 11:03 PM

Todd......then I would say don't eat dinner. Eat larger portions at breakfast and lunch the following days.

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Can you go into more detail? I "IF" Mon-Thurs for roughly 24hrs... my only meal is the PWO after BJJ...

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 21, 2011
at 06:31 AM

ha! hence why I'm responding to this at 2:30 am!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 10:59 PM

and stage four sleep. After the leptin does its deed, Melatonin levels stop and allow prolactin levels to rise and set the stage for GH release that also occurs late in the sleep cycle. GH release is when the greatest gains occur in brain redox reactions and sensitize the brain to leptin centrally and in the muscles. This is why obese and unfit people are never ripped and are more likely diagnosed with sleep apnea. They never get to stage 3 or 4 sleep. Here is the take home message.....never eat a large carb load before bed because of insulin effects on leptin signalling. Moreover, eat

E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on April 21, 2011
at 07:01 PM

Thanks for the breakdown.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 11:02 PM

5-7 PM then plan to be in darkness by ten PM on most nights. This revs the system. To jump start it......do weight bearing exercises right before bed like push ups or pull ups to get to fat burning even quicker. If you eat a bite of a cracker you have screwed your circadean rhythm up for night time fat burning for close to two weeks. Sleep is as important as what you eat. The timing of when you eat is as important as what you eat. If you focus only on the fuel you miss out on why you definitely will hit more plateaus. 2 or 3 meals is critical. You don't need any more.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 20, 2011
at 10:54 PM

ok here goes....When you eat past 8 you completely hinder the normal effect of leptin entering the hypothalamus. And if you eat anything that has an insulinogenic spike you have hammered yourself for 10-14 metabolically. Here is why. post dinner cortisol is at its lowest.....when you eat there is a biphasic insulin spike that ends 2-3 hrs after eating. When Insulin's second peak ends that is when leptin rises steadily until 12 midnight to 1 AM. It enters the hypothalamus (if the person is leptin sensitive) and allows the thyroid to burn at a higher set point thru UCP3 only in stage three

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 21, 2011
at 06:28 AM

so what if i've lived on a different schedule than most of main-stream-america for most of my life...i.e. - my 8pm is actually your 12am, and your 7am alarm clock goes off at 12pm for me? I'm a bartender and a rock musician, i go out, i socialize i eat late and i sleep late. am i screwed? or can i compensate for my late hours and adjust this recommended schedule accordingly?

0
5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f

on May 08, 2013
at 05:52 AM

I think the only issue that arises from eating right before bed is the fact that you are laying down, and so gravity is not assisting the digestion process, so the process is slowed.

I have read that our digestive systems also go through periods that they "sleep" in order to rest, but you take care of this while fasting. With that, your digestive system should adapt to a different sleep schedule than you.

If you don't have problems, such as feeling full still when you wake up, then that means your digestive system has adapted for the most part.

Also, you can assist your digestion by drinking hot water with your meal, drinking ginger tea afterwards, or taking a digestive enzyme! (I take NOW brand super enzyme)

0
9ff0c1b18695d3c9b012a324301b6d46

on May 08, 2013
at 03:18 AM

Wow loved the info about Walter Breuning! I basically eat a similar schedule which just developed organically - I eat breakfast early and my largest meal of the day is lunch around noon. Then around 4 or 5pm I'll have a kind of mini meal or snack. I brew a big pot of coffee in the morning and have a cup with breakfast and one usually after lunch, and occasionally if there's some left in the pot a small one mid afternoon. I'll cook my husband dinner in the evening and may have some small tastes of food then, but nothing else. Maybe I should cut out the tasting just before bed...something to work on? Anyways I was excited to read that I eat like the oldest living man!

0
24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on October 01, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I think if eating disrupts sleep or digestion then it's not a good idea. If not, there are enough studies out there debunking all manner of food timing impacting weight on strictly metabolic terms* to do what works for you. I know when (long time ago) I had GERD eating late was the worst for me, didn't matter what it was.

*I'm talking about if grazing leads to overeating or skipping breakfast does, or noshing mindlessly watching TV after dinner or whatever, this is more behavioral and will impact weight/health. But it's not the timing of the eating per se that is the issue.

0
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on April 21, 2011
at 04:48 AM

I remember reading that the oldest living man, Walter Breuning, (who has since passed) never ate dinner. His latest meal was lunch. I think he said he had some kind of snack in the afternoon and never bothered with dinner. He did alright. He lived to 114.

This is taken from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Breuning

Breuning attributed much of his longevity to his diet. Shortly after his wife died, Breuning started eating out at restaurants. Eventually, he stopped dining out, but he continued eating two meals a day. He ate a big breakfast and a hearty lunch but skipped an evening meal, snacking on fruit instead. Breuning consumed a lot of water plus a cup and a half of coffee with breakfast and one cup with lunch. He got up every day at 6:15 a.m. and had breakfast at 7:30 a.m. He then took a stroll around The Rainbow for exercise and could then be found sitting in the lobby chatting with fellow residents.

His weight was around the same for the last 50 years of his life, 125–130 pounds (57–59 kg). Because Breuning was 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m), his body mass index was around 19.[21][22] For years Breuning took a baby aspirin daily, but he eventually gave that up. In his later years he took no medication at all, stating that he didn't need it.[23] Breuning believed another key to his longevity was keeping his mind and body active, not retiring until the age of 99 and until very recently doing calisthenics every morning. Though his vision didn't allow him to read anymore, Breuning kept his mind active by listening to the radio.

0
39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on April 20, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I definitely stall out on weight loss if I eat less than a few hours before bed. I never wanted to believe this old axiom is true, but for me it is - at least for weight loss.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:54 PM

i once read in a outdoor magazin. eat before sleeping to tay warm over night.

for house people i read mostly that eating late can have effect on your body.

i also heard some food eat late can help sleep more deeper. like some milk some animal product. some the or oats. yeah oats are not paleo oats porridge help sleeping. also oat straw has a effect. there are lot of herbs helping sleeping.

0
Ecedd7725c4635239db7fed8505d5499

(0)

on April 20, 2011
at 06:41 PM

I agree, sometimes I finish training late and eat about 10pm and sleep by 11pm and don't find any problems?

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