6

votes

Is there a daily meal schedule that is conducive to optimal sleep quality?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 26, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Has eating in the evening been linked to low quality sleep?

Should I eat a large breakfast or lunch and skip dinner?

If I take all my calories before noon, will that lead to better sleep at night?

Are there other reasons large dinners might not be healthy?

The Brits are known for their big breakfasts; the French known for their large lunches; the Americans for their large dinners. Which population is healthiest, and does that have anything at all to do with mealTIMES? Which other cultures mealtimes might help guide us?

I've noticed that if I eat anything salty in the evening I don't sleep well, so maybe that's support for avoiding evening meals?

I don't eat sugar, so that couldn't be a factor for me, would it be for you?

Edit:

I am not asking for a dogma that must necessarily apply to all individuals, I am just looking to learn from what others have experienced with eating at different times.<<

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on January 13, 2013
at 04:46 AM

answer chosen by the service

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on December 04, 2012
at 05:20 PM

Oh, sorry for misinterpreting your question. My typical eating pattern is to have my first meal of the day 14–16 hours after the previous day's dinner. After that, what and when I eat depends on my work and activity schedule, but it's generally 2 big meals. To ensure that I sleep well, I stop eating 3 hours before I get to bed, regardless of the amount of food and composition of my meals.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on December 04, 2012
at 03:11 AM

I answered you in my last edit

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on November 27, 2012
at 01:51 PM

No lunch. Just the coffee in the morning and a really nutrient dense dinner. About 2000 calories/day.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on November 27, 2012
at 10:16 AM

what about lunch?

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on November 27, 2012
at 02:38 AM

No problemo despicableconservative.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 02:36 AM

I'm sorry for being presumptuous; my question was only an attempt to identify outliers. Thank you for your contribution.

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on November 27, 2012
at 02:30 AM

Yes, in the past when eating a SAD diet I had frequent bad sleep nights. So much so I used melatonin. My fat breakfast is coffee with butter and MCT oil. OK, nearly all fat. There's trace protein and carb in the butter.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on November 27, 2012
at 01:17 AM

What do you eat that consists of only fat?

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:09 AM

have you ever slept poorly?

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:08 AM

have you ever slept poorly?

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:01 AM

how tiny is tiny?

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:00 AM

What time is your lunch usually? How tiny is your dinner?

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

7 Answers

best answer

2
7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on November 26, 2012
at 10:21 PM

Actually, I eat carbs and protein only at dinner and I sleep great. Only breakfast I have is fat.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on November 27, 2012
at 10:16 AM

what about lunch?

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:08 AM

have you ever slept poorly?

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on November 27, 2012
at 01:51 PM

No lunch. Just the coffee in the morning and a really nutrient dense dinner. About 2000 calories/day.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 02:36 AM

I'm sorry for being presumptuous; my question was only an attempt to identify outliers. Thank you for your contribution.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:09 AM

have you ever slept poorly?

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on November 27, 2012
at 02:30 AM

Yes, in the past when eating a SAD diet I had frequent bad sleep nights. So much so I used melatonin. My fat breakfast is coffee with butter and MCT oil. OK, nearly all fat. There's trace protein and carb in the butter.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on November 27, 2012
at 01:17 AM

What do you eat that consists of only fat?

7f8bc7ce5c34aae50408d31812c839b0

(2698)

on November 27, 2012
at 02:38 AM

No problemo despicableconservative.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on January 13, 2013
at 04:46 AM

answer chosen by the service

3
Ff1dbd6cecad1e69a8234fb2c2c5c5ed

(1409)

on November 27, 2012
at 06:56 AM

I eat a big breakfast and a big lunch, no dinner. I find that I sleep better and feel more rested when I wake up - hungry. My paleo-friendly doc was much enthused and says that it will benefit the production of hormones at night.

3
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on November 27, 2012
at 12:58 AM

What works for me is to stop eating around 5 or 6 pm.

I eat a normal-sized breakfast and lunch and a tiny dinner.

I also take ~350 mg of Mag Citrate about 1/2 hour before bed.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:00 AM

What time is your lunch usually? How tiny is your dinner?

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on November 27, 2012
at 01:01 AM

how tiny is tiny?

2
Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd

on December 04, 2012
at 11:42 AM

My sleep has been all over the place since I started eating paleo/primal, but I think I finally have it figured out, making a series of changes that has now resulted in regular solid 8 hour sleep for me.

I have always had occasional insomnia: I would fall asleep easily at 9:30, but wake up between 1:00 and 3:00 am and lie awake for two hours before falling back to sleep. When I first changed to this diet from WAPF, I tried keeping carbs at 50/day while also trying to IF, not having breakfast until at least 10:00, often noon. During this period, I started having trouble getting to sleep in the first place, something that had never happened before.

At this time, I took Dragonfly's (and many other people's) recommendation to take magnesium at night and that definitely helped. I fell asleep more easily, but would still wake up sometime in the night. I then added Vitamin D3/K2 in the morning per another person's (again, maybe Dragonfly) recommendation and started eating more like 100-120 carbs/day and sleep was better...I could fall asleep easily again. I also install flux on my Macbook since sadly, I am usually on it just before bed.

The latest change I have made which has made a noticable difference is I gave up waiting so long to eat breakfast after reading here about manipulating one's cortisol rhythm by eating closer to when you get up. The idea is that you make it higher first thing in the morning, so that by nighttime, it is naturally lower and doesn't interfere with your sleep. This has definitely worked for me. I love the idea of IF and I always workout faster at 6:30 am, but for me, having an early breakfast has seemed like the missing piece in this on-going sleep-puzzle. At first it was hard, because my body didn't want to eat anything before at least 10:00 am, but after a few days, I do get hunger signals at 8:00.

I'll just throw one other random thing into the mix....I also started doing 1000 Kegels/day (I have a long commute and am in general, an exercise freak). I have read that this might help suppress the feeling that you have to pee, which is always why I ever woke up.

It feels so good to have this figured out! I am 48, and we are always told that sleep will just get worse as one ages. I am happy to say that for me, and thanks to all these wonderful ideas from my fellow Paleohackers, it just isn't true.

2
19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on December 04, 2012
at 12:15 AM

I'm not an authority by any means but I can share my experiences.

Growing up in a traditional society, we ate dinner at 5 PM at the latest. We might have a black tea after dinner / before bed but that was it.

Now eating paleo I sleep the best when I eat a large breakfast after waking up, and a small lunch (7 am and 1 pm). I don't sleep as well if I eat later in the day (if I eat dinner it would be about 7 pm which is way too late!) I'm not hungry when I go to sleep, but having a light belly makes me sleep better.

But back home, we had the biggest meal at dinner (5pm; but we went to sleep 10-11pm)

Probably more important than what time you eat, is that you eat easily digestible foods with each meal such as fermented foods and bone broths.

1
383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on December 03, 2012
at 11:53 PM

i cannot sleep unless i have a high-carb dinner. i sleep very poorly on low-carb diets. i suspect it has something to do with increased cortisol.

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on December 03, 2012
at 11:33 PM

The optimal composition of meals depends on your lifestyle, not mine or anyone else's. For instance, on some days, I fast 16 hours between dinner and the next meal. Today, I ate 75g of sweet potato at 9:00AM. The difference is that today, I lifted weights and knew that the carbs would replenish my glycogen instead of being stored as adipose tissue. Tonight, I'll have eggs for my dinner protein, (I haven't eaten eggs in almost a week), because I want the choline in them.

There cannot be any one answer to this question, because not only are we all unique biochemically, our dietary needs change occasionally. Pay attention to the demands of your lifestyle, and vary your meals accordingly.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on December 04, 2012
at 05:20 PM

Oh, sorry for misinterpreting your question. My typical eating pattern is to have my first meal of the day 14–16 hours after the previous day's dinner. After that, what and when I eat depends on my work and activity schedule, but it's generally 2 big meals. To ensure that I sleep well, I stop eating 3 hours before I get to bed, regardless of the amount of food and composition of my meals.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on December 04, 2012
at 03:11 AM

I answered you in my last edit

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!