Is it better to go to bed hungry or eat before bed?

by (5624) Updated February 25, 2013 at 5:55 AM Created December 14, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Robb has talked about how not eating before bed gives you a better REM sleep, but I find that on occassion I am pretty hungry before bed. I usually eat dinner at 630 or and go to bed about 930. I am plenty full after dinner but around 830-9 the hunger starts. Should I listen to my hunger pangs or suck it up? And if I should eat then should I be protein or fat focused or both?

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8 Replies

379 · December 14, 2010 at 12:12 PM

I would say you shouldn't eat before bed (try to give yourself 3+ hours). But more importantly, that shouldn't mean you have to 'suck it up.' If you have hunger pangs 2 hours after eating, you either must not be eating enough (protein+fat) or you still haven't normalized your hormonal signaling.

I'm no expert, but I'd say you should absolutely expect to be satiated for more than two hours after a big meal, and if you're not... well, find out why! Either eat a bigger dinner, with fewer carbs and more protein/fat, or perhaps your body is still adjusting to the paleo regime?

Personally I sometimes get the urge to eat late at night, but often I check myself — am I REALLY hungry (i.e. my body's telling me it needs more calories) or am I just looking for something pleasurable to do? More often it's the latter. Occupy yourself with something else and let the hunger go away on its own. I doubt your urges actually last the full hour before bed! usually they subside after 15 mins, no?

Or if you really need to, maybe eat some celery/fennel-style vegetable matter, and/or fill your stomach with water or tea. There are herbal (no-caffeine) teas that are supposed to suppress appetite (like hoodia, right?) but I've never tried them myself.

1793 · December 14, 2010 at 1:46 PM

I usually find I am satiated for longer if there's a lot of fat and protein in the meal. Also, don't be afraid to stuff yourself a bit. I have no idea if this is true for you, but I imagine a lot of people new to paleo are hesitant to really go to town on a bunch of meat and fat, due to being exposed to conventional wisdom for so long. Go to town. Veggies are great, but good quality animal products should be the staple of your diet, IMHO.

20469 · December 14, 2010 at 4:35 PM

I don't think there's enough data to say what you 'should' do. This happens to me sometimes. What I usually do is eat a bit if the hunger is strong and ignore it if the hunger is weak. Over time, this problem has lessened quite a bit. I think the main thing for me is to sleep well. If I am too hungry before bed, then I tend to wake up in the middle of the night hungry which is irritating and I find it hard to get back to sleep unless I get up and snack on something. As for eating before bed, recent research seems to suggest there is nothing particularly bad about it. Seems like that old assumption that it is somehow 'bad' to eat before bed or that it will make you gain weight has no research behind it and recent research seems to contradict it. In the lowcarb community, it is felt that if you feel very hungry, then you should eat. This diet is not supposed to entail too much suffering.

160 · December 14, 2010 at 12:13 PM

I eat dinner a little later, but do find myself in the same situation as yourself on a few occasions. What I usually do is eat a combination of a piece of fish or a hard boiled egg and either a piece of avocado or some unsweetened coconut chips with a glass of lemon water. nothing "heavy", just enough to stop the grumbling. Would like to see what others have to say about this also.

0 · February 25, 2013 at 5:55 AM

I worked a hectic schedule this past weekend and literally only had time to get a hold of resturaunt food for 3 days with a few whey protein waters along the way haha and one apple (which tasted so good) now its sunday night 11:52pm I havent had time to eat today since about 430 pm. I am very hungry but am hesitant to eat because i want to go to sleep pretty much with in an hour. What should I do?

0 · December 14, 2010 at 4:57 PM

i just read years ago that in outdoors its good to eat before sleeping. if its warm enough in hot climate it could be better to stay simple inside+

323 · December 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I usually have a small meal (2-4 oz protein, minimal fruit, almonds/fat) 1 hour to 30 minutes before I go to bed. I like feeling sated before bed. Not sure if that's beneficial to losing weight, if that's your goal (it's mine), or not, but I sleep better when I've got something in my stomach. I don't think it should be a BIG meal, but something closer to a mini-meal. I Paleo-Zone, so I shoot for only a few blocks before bed.

1093 · December 14, 2010 at 1:54 PM

my hubby and I usally eat a hand full of almonds some baby carrots and if its avaliable we'll have some berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries). Normally that'll make me feel better. He's normally more hungry than I am so he might have some leftover meat (such as turkey or chicken). We don't do this every night but there are some nights where we eat dinner and then a few hours later we're still hungry.

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